#EAIR2019 Programme

#EAIR2019 Programme

Undermatching and Socioeconomic Background: Long-term Consequences for Work Engagement and Life Satisfaction



Responsibility of Higher Education for Society and Labour Market


Marjolein Muskens et al, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

Single presentation - 30 Minutes



It is considered undesirable when students attend institutions that are less selective than their academic credentials would permit (i.e., undermatching) because of the assumed negative consequences this has for subsequent job opportunities and wages. Attending less selective institution may further inhibit opportunities for social mobility for students from low-socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds. However, little is known about undermatching during adolescence and the long-term consequences in adulthood, especially in terms of subjective measures such as work engagement and life satisfaction, and about whether this relation is moderated by SES. The current study provides new empirical evidence on these relationships among 1,448 respondents from a longitudinal study among students from the Netherlands (TRAILS). The resulting findings have important implications for our understanding about undermatching in relation to students’ development towards adulthood and for the formulation of higher education policies and programs for promoting student success generally, and social mobility among lower SES students.