Technequality Second Webinar series, Webinar 3: 30 June 2021, 12.00 - 13.00h CET

− 2 min read

This is the third webinar of a series of three. If you wish to attend, please send an email to and we will send you an invitation with a link to the meeting.

Title:  Technological innovations and social mobility: How skill-to-job mismatches relate to wage inequalities

By Dr. Marie-Christine Fregin and Liisa Martma


Abstracts of the presentations

In all industrialised countries, automation leads to a profound and persistent transformation of work and skill requirements of jobs. Thereby, technological innovations may favour certain social groups and classes. Technequality researchers Liisa Martma (Tallinn University) and Marie-Christine Fregin (Maastricht University) will present cross-national evidence on how education and skill-to-job mismatches relate to wage inequalities.

The first presentation by Liisa Martma focuses on structural characteristics. Most of the previous analyses dealing with educational mismatch concentrate on the issue of overeducation, but relatively less attention is paid to undereducation. There is a perception that overeducation predominantly affects tertiary graduates and hence the existing literature tends to be focused on this aspect. The fact that overeducation can also occur at lower levels of educational attainment, has been largely overlooked in research. Previous findings have indicated cyclical changes and there is also substantial evidence that the incidence of mismatch varies widely across labour market segments and countries. We use the data of EU-LFS 2009 (during the economic recession) and 2014 (after the recession) to analyse the incidence of overeducation and undereducation (using realized matches approach) across European countries among workers belonging to four broad occupational groups. Furthermore, we examine the potential effect of labour demand- and supply-side factors as well as institutional and other structural characteristics that may explain the country-level variance and the impact of educational mismatch on salaries for different occupational groups.

In the second presentation, Marie-Christine Fregin will focus on the digital skills divide and wage inequalities. Digital problem-solving skills are becoming increasingly important for workers’ productivity and performance in 21st century labour markets. However, not much is known yet about individual skill-to-job matches, and particularly shortages, in these skills and their relation with wages and social inequalities. Drawing on micro data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), the research is based on objective skills measurements for representative samples of employees in 26 industrial countries. We build a skill matching model to show that skill-to-job matches in digital problem-solving skills matter for wages: shortages are damaging, while a skills surplus is profitable. However, digital problem-solving skills re-shape wage inequalities with the potential to serve as emancipatory lever, narrowing the divide between socio-economic status groups. These key skills may also help to reduce the gender wage gap, as high levels of digital-problem solving skills appear to pay off more for women than for men 

We also wish to inform you that we plan to record the webinar.