Over-education has long been an issue among developed economies in the western world for decades. Researchers have conducted studies and estimated the ratio of over-education of their respective countries; however, there was not much done, if any, for Hong Kong. The purposes of this study are: first, to estimate the proportion of over-education in Hong Kong; second, to compare differences across different demographic factors including majors of studies, years of work experience, income levels, academic qualification levels, industries, and gender. The data set consists of 279 respondents. The subjective (self-reported) over-education rate for current job is 34.1 percent. At the 0.05 significance level, the population proportion, or overall subjective over-education rate in Hong Kong is estimated at between 28.54 percent and 39.66 percent. The sample proportion of objective over-education, measured by the excess of highest qualification over minimum requirement for the current job, is 49.1 percent. At the 0.05 significance level, the population proportion of objective over-education is estimated to be between 43.23 percent and 54.97 percent. The correlation between subjective and objective over-education is 0.342. It is not a very strong positive relationship, but it is significant (p = 0.000). Differences between the two are also significant (p = 0.000). While over-education appears to be a serious issue, the sample shows an objective under-education rate of 2.5 percent. Overall, differences of demographic factors are mostly insignificant, but multiple comparisons among sub-groups for subjective over-education have found that medicine, dentistry and health majors are significantly different from other majors. Results of this study will narrow the research gap for Hong Kong on over-education. It also opens the door for future research and deeper study concerning over-education in Hong Kong between graduates of government-funded and privately-funded higher education institutes, across different majors and industries. These will not only have substantial financial implications on government spending on higher education but also provide directions for students’ choices.

Over-education in Hong Kong, Cross-demographic differences in over-education, subjective versus objective over-education

DOI: 10.52950/TE.2018.6.1.001


APA citation:
TILO LI, ANDY CHAN, EUGENE LI (2018). A pilot study of over-education in Hong Kong. International Journal of Teaching and Education, Vol. VI(1), pp. 1-20. , DOI: 10.52950/TE.2018.6.1.001

Received: 25 Jan 2018
Revised: 13 Mar 2018
Accepted: 6 Apr 2018
Published: 20 Apr 2018

Copyright © 2018, Tilo Li et al, tiloli@twc.edu.hk