This paper, using questionnaire survey data of Japanese workers in their 30s-50s (conducted by METI in 2018), examines the effects of the matching between university major and job on both objective and subjective occupational outcomes, focusing on differences by gender. As a complementary resource for explanations of the gender differences, an analysis of factors influencing the matching is also conducted.
In Japan, an understanding that knowledge and skills necessary for jobs are learned through OJT and off-JT in companies and that matching between field of academic study and job is generally weak has been broadly accepted both in the workplace and in academic research. Because of this understanding, empirical examinations of the effects and factors of matching have been insufficient. However, the growing urgency of the need for universities to produce innovation, improvement of labor productivity and reducing the gender gap in Japanese society makes it more important to explore the effective relationships between university education and the labor market.
The results of analysis show that among male regular workers the matching has positive effects on both income and job satisfaction after controlling for the influence of other factors, while among female regular workers the matching had a positive effect only on job satisfaction. The main reasons why the matching between university major and job had no effect on income among female regular workers is that income is relatively high among women in clerical, managerial and professional jobs in spite of the low level of matching and that women who majored in STEM fields at universities who pursued matched jobs do not receive income comparable to their male peers.