As the job market heats up, it’s a good time to look at a study conducted by University of Texas at Austin’s David Pedulla. His findings indicate that people who accept positions below their skill level damage future job prospects.

For research purposes, Pedulla submitted over 2400 fictitious applications for real openings in five US cities. Only five percent of those who were underutilizing their skills received call-backs or positive responses. This was half the call-back rate of those working at their skill level.

Using similar profiles, Pedulla surveyed 903 hiring decision makers. The results: men in less skilled, part-time positions were seen as less committed and less competent. Women in similar positions were seen as less competent, but not less committed.

His results suggest that being underemployed can lead to stigma similar to that of being unemployed.