Can your employees be under or over educated?

By Bizclik Editor

Education is essential to employee performance as well as worker and employer satisfaction.

But, overeducated employees sometimes have no choice but to take lower-level positions. Likewise, undereducated employees slip through the cracks and take on jobs they're simply not qualified for on an educational level.

When it comes to Australia's working masses, what are some common pitfalls for employees with education levels that both lack and far succeed expectations?

Australian Worker Education Statistics

According to a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly two-thirds of the country's working population, which is about 7.3 million people, is educationally under qualified. This statistic also takes into account those employees who lack the appropriate education credentials for their current position.

But, the remaining one-third of Australia's working population have more than one education qualification, which shows an increase in education levels among employees.

Likewise, the number of workers with Bachelor Degrees and higher has risen 5% in the past decade.

Overeducated Workers

Although overeducated workers may seem like a benefit to employers, there are some unique downsides to employing a worker who is overqualified for a position in terms of education:

  • Decreased Employee Retention - One thing all employers look for is long-term employees. Between the cost of the recruitment process and the lost productivity that results in unfilled positions, worker turnover is costly. But, retaining an employee long-term is that much harder when the employee is overeducated, overqualified, and always looking for a different job.
  • Salary Expectancy - Overeducated employees are naturally going to expect hire pay rates. But, for many businesses, the pay is commensurate with the position. Because of this, overeducated employees always expect more pay and therefore are continually dissatisfied.
  • Interest Level - When an employee exceeds the education requirement necessary for the position, it may result in a lack of interest and enthusiasm. And, when an employee isn't challenged on a daily basis, it results in lost productivity among other things.

Undereducated Workers

Just as there are drawbacks with overeducated workers, such is the case with undereducated workers. And, although the setbacks may seem obvious, there's more to it than just a lack of education:

  • Lack of Knowledge - With education comes knowledge, which is why undereducated employees could pose problems for businesses. Whether it's education in direct correlation to the position, or secondary educational knowledge like reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, undereducated employees are likely playing catch up day-to-day.
  • Low Pay - Lower salaries or hourly wages may also seem like a positive in the eyes of employers, but you get what you pay for. In other words, employees in low-level positions receiving low pay usually have a poor outlook in terms of their career, which always results in a lack in enthusiasm and productivity.
  • More Training - Although undereducated employees require less in terms of compensation, it'll surely cost the company in training. And, whether that training is all upfront or as needed, it'll end up costing the employer much more in the long run.

At the end of the workday, the best way to go about hiring the right employee is by choosing a candidate with the experience and education equal to the job at hand.


About the author

Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health, how to seek a bachelor degree, and small business.


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