Overeducation as moderator for the link between job change and job satisfaction among immigrants and natives in Germany

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Khalil, Samir
Lietz, Almuth
Mayer, Sabrina Jasmin
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Job satisfaction is a major driver of an individual’s subjective well-being and thus affects public health, societal prosperity, and organisations, as dissatisfied employees are less productive and more likely to change jobs. However, changing jobs does not necessarily lead to higher job satisfaction in the long run. Previous studies have shown, instead, that changing jobs only increases job satisfaction for a short period of time before it gradually falls back to similar levels as before. This phenomenon is known as the ’honeymoon–hangover’ pattern. In our study, we identify an important new moderator of the relation between job change and job satisfaction: the job–education match of job changes. Based on relative deprivation theory, we argue that job changes from being overeducated in a job lowers the likelihood of negative comparisons and thus increases the honeymoon period, lessens the hangover period, and increases long-term job satisfaction. We use data from the Socio-Economic Panel ranging from 1994–2018 and focus specifically on individual periods of employees before and after job changes (n = 134,404). Our results confirm that a change to a job that requires a matched education has a stronger and longer-lasting effect on job satisfaction, and that this effect is slightly lower for respondents born abroad.
Job satisfaction, Overeducation, Job changes, Honeymoon-hangover, Immigration