Overqualified Workers May Be Less Likely to Quit
THURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that
managers might fail to appreciate the value that overqualified
workers can bring to their companies.
"If anything, our research suggests that such a candidate could be expected to stay longer and perform better than an applicant whose scores make him supposedly a better fit," Anthony Nyberg, an assistant professor of management at the University of South Carolina, said in a university news release.
"A manager trying to fill a job that demands less-than-top-level smarts should never reject a candidate out of hand just because the applicant's score on the company's intelligence tests labels him or her as smarter than the job requires," Nyberg said.
Nyberg and his colleagues analyzed information o n the work
experiences of more than 5,000 adults that was gathered over a
quarter century by the Bureau of Labor Statistics National
Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
The researchers found that smarter people -- those with higher
cognitive abilities -- were less likely than other workers to quit
low-brainpower jobs. Those jobs, as defined by the federal
government, included garbage collecting and car washing, among
Also, people with jobs considered the most mentally challenging
were three times more likely to express job dissatisfaction than
were those with less brain-taxing jobs.
Why do the findings matter? For one thing, the study suggests
that it may be unwise to automatically reject the overqualified for
fears that they won't be challenged on the job and will quit. "To
make matters worse, courts have upheld the legality of
discriminating against applicants who are 'too smart,'" Nyberg
said. "This kind of thinking has no doubt tossed more than a few
layoff victims into the ranks of the long-term unemployed, a group
that now constitutes nearly half of all U.S. jobless."
The study was published in the
Journal of Applied Psychology.
The American Psychological Association has information on
surviving job loss.
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