Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Monday, March 29, 2010

Overqualified, But Happy To Have a Job

Overqualified? yes, but Happy to Have a Job is an interesting March 29, 2010 New York Times article. As the article indicates, it is about people who have to take a job-any job- even though they may be overqualified. As the article states:

Conventional wisdom warns against hiring overqualified candidates like Mr. Carroll, who often find themselves chafing at their new roles. (The posting for his job had specified “bachelor’s degree preferred but not required.”) But four months into his employment, it seems to be working out well for all involved.

It is a situation being repeated across the country as the aspirations of many workers have been recalibrated amid the recession, enabling some companies to reap unexpected rewards.

A result is a new cadre of underemployed workers dotting American companies, occupying slots several rungs below where they are accustomed to working. These are not the more drastic examples of former professionals toiling away at “survival jobs” at Home Depot or Starbucks. They are the former chief financial officer working as comptroller, the onetime marketing director who is back to being an analyst, the former manager who is once again an “individual contributor.”

The phenomenon was probably inevitable in a labor market in which job seekers outnumber openings five to one. Employers are seizing the opportunity to stock up on discounted talent, despite the obvious risks that the new hires will become dissatisfied and leave. “They’re trying to really professionalize this company,” said Mr. Carroll, who is the sole breadwinner for his family of four and had lost his home to foreclosure. “I’ve been able to play a big role in that.”

Though the article indicates that some academic studies indicate that overqualified individuals are more productive, many might question that. Additionally, when the economy improves many of these overqualified individuals may leave.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Lawyer Employment, Misc., Non-Legal | Permalink


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