Higher Education

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 325–337 | Cite as

Overeducation among European University Graduates: a comparative analysis of its incidence and the importance of higher education differentiation



The incidence of overeducation in eight European countries is here assessed by means of multiple indicators. With the exception of Spain, the results reveal that overeducation is a minor risk amongst European tertiary graduates. Yet, the contrast between different indicators reveals the existence of an overeducation of a moderate kind in countries with high rates of tertiary attainment (Norway, Finland and Netherlands). Our results also reveal the importance of higher education differentiation for understanding the risk of overeducation. Graduates from humanistic fields, bachelor courses and vocational colleges are more exposed to overeducation, though their disadvantage varies cross-nationally.


Overeducation Fields of study Higher education differentiation Graduate employment Transition from school to work 



This work has been developed within the EQUALSOC Network of Excellence. The first author has contributed to this work in the context of the project “Social Selectivity in Tertiary Education and Labour Market and Stratification Outcomes”, coordinated by W. Müller (MZES, University of Mannheim).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversità di TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Political Science and SociologyUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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