Nearly one in three UK workers are either underqualified or overqualified for their job, with concerns the figures could deal a blow to the country’s ailing productivity.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the proportion of workers “matched” to their jobs is steadily declining, The Guardian reports.
The figures showed a rise in the proportion of people overeducated for their job to 16.1%, up from 15.3% two years earlier.
The proportion of people undereducated for their job, also a potential blow to productivity, rose to 15.1% from 14.8%.
Only 68.7% of those in employment are close to the average level of learning for their job, the lowest figure in close to a decade.
Labour-market experts said the data should push policymakers, education providers and employers to take the UK’s skills problems more seriously.
“Whilst any well-functioning labour market will have some degree of mismatch between skills and jobs, the persistent skills shortages in sectors such IT and engineering suggest that there are some structural problems in the labour market,” Steve Hill at The Open University told The Guardian.
Labour-market expert John Philpott said the growing trend in underuse of talent should feature more highly in the post-budget debate on poor productivity growth.
“It’s clear from these estimates that the UK is underusing a lot of talent, with women and people in part-time jobs in particular employed in occupations for which they are overeducated,” he said.