London School of Economics Centre for the Economics of Education LSE
Centre for the Economics of Education  (CEE)

The Graduate Labour Market: Rates Of Return And Overeducation Conference

Peter Sloane, Peter Elias and Seamus McGuinness

Friday May 20th 2005, 2.30pm - 5.30pm

Venue: S50, Ground Floor St Clements Building London School of Economics. Houghton Street London WC2A 2AE

This conference is the fourth in the current series of six conferences on the economics of education, funded by the ESRC. The topic of this conference will be the graduate labour market, looking in particular at changing returns to a degree over time, and the incidence of overeducation amongst graduates.

Peter Sloane (University of Swansea) will provide the broad picture of the returns to holding a degree, relative to A levels, and how these have changed over the 1990s, using data from the Labour Force Survey. The returns to a degree are presented separately for men and women, for different degree subject areas and at different points in the wage distribution, and are interpreted through a supply and demand model of the graduate labour market.
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Peter Elias (University of Warwick) also considers the supply and demand of graduates, with particular reference to ICT skills. This talk will consider the extent to which the ICT sector is using graduate skills, looking at non-graduates in ICT, and the type of jobs that graduates in non-ICT occupations take. The latter group are further examined, to see whether graduates are making use of their skills that they acquired in Higher Education when in non-ICT jobs.

Séamus McGuinness (Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland) continues with the theme of graduates finding the appropriate jobs, by considering and trying to explain the existence of overeducation amongst graduates. The paper examines to what extent the existence of overeducation is consistent with human capital theory, which could be the case if the least able graduates are the ones who are overeducated. The paper uses quantile regression to investigate this question.
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