Graduate Unemployment in East Asian: Oversupply, Mismatching or Overeducation?

Graduate unemployment has become an issue in many East Asian countries in the last two decades. By the end of the first decade, unemployment rate among tertiary degree holders has reached between 25 to 30 percent in four major economies in the region, significantly higher the world average of 19.53% in 2007 and far more higher than the one digit rate among European countries. Popular explanations on graduate unemployment are reviewed with special attention to those on oversupply, mismatching and overeducation. By exploring the incidence of unemployment among graduates in the region from various perspectives, this paper argues that no single theory can provide satisfactory answer to the topic due to a very special political and social background in East Asian countries, which is also a factor that any policy suggestions on responding the issue will have to address.