According to a recent study, almost half of all employed Americans with college degrees are overqualified for their jobs. In 2010, 15% of taxi drivers had bachelor’s degrees, compared to 1% in 1970, and 25% of retail sales clerks had bachelor’s degrees, compared to 5% in 1970.
In fact, U.S. overqualification has become such a large problem that in 2013, The Globalist published an article titled “The U.S. Overqualification Crisis: Why the United States is looking to Germany for answers on higher education.”
Now, many degree programs encourage American students to avoid doctorates and/or other certifications because having these will make it harder for the students to find jobs. Engineers are warned not to get certified as Professional Engineers (PEs,) because companies typically hire only a handful of licensed PEs, but hire many more unlicensed engineers.
American employers have several reasons why they avoid hiring people who are overqualified for a position. Some of their biggest reasons include:
Higher salary expectations – someone with more qualifications is likely to expect to be paid more money.
Promotion expectations – someone with more qualifications might accept a job that’s “beneath them” only because they expect to be promoted quickly to a job that’s more deserving of their higher skills.
Upstaging – someone who has more qualifications and/or experience than their boss might have difficulty following orders.
Short term – someone who is overqualified is likely to lose interest in their position, and won’t stay for very long.