Philosophers working as clerks, trained teachers as cashiers. A recent paper by the Education Policy Institute of the Ministry of Education (Martinák, 2016) analyses mismatch between qualifications and skills and labour market requirements. It examines three types of supply-demand mismatch among the employed (omitting the self-employed and unemployed):

  • vertical or qualification mismatch, based on comparisons of PIAAC survey respondents’ educational attainment and the education level they consider necessary for their jobs (OECD methodology; Montt, 2015);   
  • horizontal or field of study mismatch, based on comparison of their field of study, using the ISCED classification, and the working position accepted, using ISCO classification (OECD methodology; Montt, 2015);
  • skill mismatch for each group of occupations (ISCO 1-digit code), based on  respondents’ self-reporting compared to their performance in reading literacy (OECD methodology, 2013).

 Some findings are presented in the table and graphs below.

Table 1.  Vertical mismatch by level of education

Level of education

Vertical mismatch

s. e.


s. e.


s. e.

Lower secondary







Upper secondary*





















Source: Martinák (2016), based on PIAAC primary data, s. e. - standard error

NB: * without ISCED 353

Employees with a bachelor degree face significant vertical mismatch: up to half applied for positions not requiring university education. They often work in clerical positions, as auxiliary administrators and vendors. In comparison, only 18% of employees with upper secondary education (excluding ISCED 353) are working in positions, for which this level of education is not needed.  

Figure 1 Incidence of field of study mismatch (%)


Horizontal mismatch appear to be problematic in agriculture and humanities, inter alia due to a high surplus of graduates entering labour market every year. Many need to accept inadequate working positions and enter sectors that do not correspond to their fields of study.

Figure 2. Types of supply-demand mismatch by field of study  

NB: ‘Field of study mismatch only’ can be seen as a skills portability rate. Source: Martinák (2016), based on PIAAC primary data, source for PIAAC average: Montt, G. (2015).

The worst mismatch structure is evident among employees in education. Most employees with pedagogical studies work in education but those who are placed outside their field of study have the highest incidence of non-compliance with the qualification and skills requirements.

Teachers also suffer from the most severe lack of required skills, as well as the lowest rate of skills portability. This indicates the need for improved in-service, but also pre-service, training, and perhaps the need to make this profession more attractive to high performers from secondary schools. 

Systemic and reliable anticipation of future skills needs can support reforms aimed at reducing supply-demand mismatch. Slovakia has signalled its interest in Cedefop’s skills governance expertise and in joining Cedefop’s project aimed at assisting countries in improving their skills governance.

More information:

Martinák, D. (2016). Filozof úradníkom, učiteľ pokladníkom: analýza nesúladu kvalifikácie a zručností s požiadavkami na trhu práce [A clerk a philosopher, a cashier a trained teacher: analysis of mismatch between qualification and skills and labour market requirements]. Komentár 02/2016, marec 2016 [Commentary 02/2016, March 2016]. Inštitút vzdelávacej politiky Ministerstva školstva, vedy, výskumu a športu [Education Policy Institute of Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport], Bratislava.

Montt, G. (2015). The causes and consequences of field-of-study mismatch: an analysis using PIAAC, OECD social, employment and migration working papers. No 167. Paris: OECD Publishing. 

OECD (2013). OECD skills outlook 2013: first results from the survey of adult skills. Paris: OECD Publishing.




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