The Effect of the Crisis on Immigrant Educational Mismatch – Evidence from Spain

Alberto del Rey, University of Salamanca
Mikolaj Stanek, University of Salamanca

Educational mismatch occurs when the required level of education for a particular job diverges from the workers skills. For last decades the attention of a number of researcher has been focused on exploring educational mismatch of migrants in receiving countries’. Most studies indicate the incidence of education-occupation mismatch is higher among migrants compared to natives although the share of mismatched migrants varies from country to country. The degree of the skills-occupation gap depends also strongly in immigrant origin, gender, education level and length of stay. However, very little still is known about the impact of the economic cycle on fluctuations of patterns of educational mismatch among migrants. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by analysing the extent to which immigrants’ education-occupation mismatch varies in relation to changing economic context in Spain.

In this paper we analyse patterns of education-occupation mismatch among migrants at the beginning and at the high of the unemployment crisis. For this purpose of analysing change through the two phases of the economic cycle, two points in time were selected: 2008, when the Spanish economy had just entered an economic downturn, but yet still maintained relatively low unemployment rates; and 2013, when the labour market hit rock bottom and unemployment rocketed to an unprecedented level (26.1%). We base our analysis upon the hypothesis that in the context of the economic crisis the education-occupation imbalance among the immigrant population should increase due to job destruction and increasing unemployment rates. We assume that in order to maximise returns from the human capital of workers, employers will primarily dismiss workers with lower levels of education. In our analysis we will take advantage of the 2008 and 2014 ad hoc modules that supplement the core LFS data on foreign-born workers in the EU.

Presented in Session 42: Labor Market Participation and Income Trajectories of Immigrants