Are university graduates overqualified? 4 Key Findings from Statistics Canada

News Feature

In Canada, we are seeing an increase in young people who are completing a higher level of education. However, some are feeling that they are “overqualified” for the positions that they hold. This “skills mismatch” may result in lower earnings and fewer career development opportunities in the future.

A study of overqualification among recent university graduates in Canada released by Statistics Canada produced some interesting findings. In 20 years, we’ve seen the number of individuals graduating with a university degree rise from 18% to 33%. A growing number of these people are finding employment in professional occupations which require a degree. However, some are now working in occupations where they would be considered overqualified.

The study analyzed young graduates aged 25-34 examining changes in the overqualification over a 20 year period (1991-2011). Here is a snapshot of four key findings:

  • A growing number of Canadians are completing a higher level of education and finding employment in professional occupations. 28% of women and 18% of men worked in professional occupations, both up from previous reports.
  • Some young workers are overqualified, but this has not changed much in 20 years. Among those who were not in management occupations, about 40% worked in occupations usually requiring a college-level education or less.
  • More university-educated immigrants are overqualified than their Canadian-born counterparts. Up to 43% of immigrant university graduates worked in occupations requiring a high school education or less. For the Canadian-born, the number looks more like 15% to 20%.
  • Certain fields of study such as humanities, social studies, and business administration produced more overqualified graduates. Areas such as education, engineering, architecture, health and related fields had lower overqualification rates.

Full Report: Statistics Canada

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