Ethnic penalties in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages: Evidence from Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1022 Downloads (Pure)


Although access to higher education has helped many minority ethnic men and women improve their labour market position compared to prior generations or the less qualified, it remains unclear to what extent higher level qualifications facilitate an equalization of labour market outcomes with comparably educated white UK born men and women. This article critically examines ethnic differences in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages as potential markers of discrimination or broader 'ethnic penalties', defined as the differences in labour market outcomes persisting after accounting for observable human capital and demographic characteristics. To estimate ethnic penalties a novel approach using covariate matching is applied. The findings reveal that despite their levels of educational attainment penalties persist among several minority ethnic groups. The implications of pre-labour market social disadvantages for explaining patterns of over-education are highlighted. © The Author(s) 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-1006
Number of pages19
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • discrimination
  • employment gaps
  • ethnic gaps
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • graduate employment
  • over-education
  • over-qualification
  • unemployment
  • wage gaps


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnic penalties in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages: Evidence from Britain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this