Volunteer to bury your talents: the influence of work values on voluntary over qualification

Yi Li, Xuan Wang, Muhammad Farrukh Moin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, there has been a growing trend of individuals willingly opting for employment positions that do not fully use their education, skills and abilities, a phenomenon known as voluntary overqualification. This study aims to investigate the factors that influence and the formation mechanism of this emerging phenomenon. Drawing upon social cognition theory, this study explores the relationship between work values and voluntary overqualification while also examining the mediating role of the future work self and the moderating role of perceived marketability.

This study used a longitudinal approach, collecting data through questionnaires administered at multiple time points. The sample consisted of 607 employees from various departments of five Chinese companies. Regression analysis using the PROCESS macro in SPSS was used to test the research hypotheses.

The results indicate a positive relationship between employees’ work values and voluntary overqualification. Furthermore, this relationship is mediated by the future work self. Additionally, perceived marketability plays a moderating intermediary role in the whole model.

This study contributes to the overqualification literature by introducing a novel type of overqualification and unveiling the mechanism by which work values influence voluntary overqualification. The findings provide insights for understanding and managing employees who are voluntarily overqualified.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalChinese Management Studies
Early online date25 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Dec 2023

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