Canada leads the G7 for the most educated workforce, thanks to immigrants, young adults and a strong college sector, but is experiencing significant losses in apprenticeship certificate holders in key trades

From the last data release of the census, with evidence of mismatches between immigration skills and occcupation:

Canada continues to rank first in the G7 for the share of working-age people (aged 25 to 64) with a college or university credential (57.5%). A key factor in this is Canada’s strong college sector: nearly one in four working-age people (24.6%) had a college certificate or diploma or similar credential in 2021, more than in any other G7 country.

From 2016 to 2021, the working-age population saw an increase of nearly one-fifth (+19.1%) in the number of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, including even larger rises in degree holders in the fields of health care (+24.1%) and computer and information science (+46.3%).

In contrast, the number of working-age apprenticeship certificate holders has stagnated or fallen in three major trades fields—construction trades (+0.6%), mechanic and repair technologies (-7.8%) and precision production (-10.0%)—as fewer young workers replace the baby boomers who are retiring. Job vacancies in some industries related to these trades, such as construction and fabricated metal product manufacturing, reached record highs in 2022.

Recent immigrants made up nearly half of the growth in the share of Canadians with a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, some immigrants’ talents remain underutilized, as over one-quarter of all immigrants with foreign degrees were working in jobs that require, at most, a high school diploma. This is twice as high as the overqualification rate for Canadian-born or Canadian-educated degree holders.

Even foreign-educated immigrants with credentials in high-demand areas such as health care faced high rates of job mismatch: 36.5% of immigrants with a foreign degree in registered nursing worked as registered nurses or in closely related occupations, and 41.1% of immigrants with foreign medical degrees worked as doctors. This compares with job match rates of approximately 9 in 10 for the population with Canadian nursing (87.4%) or medical (90.1%) degrees.

The share of Canadian-born young adults (aged 25 to 34) with a bachelor’s degree or higher is also rising (+2.7 percentage points from 2016 to 2021). The increase was larger among Canadian-born young women (+3.3 percentage points, reaching 39.7%) than Canadian-born young men (+2.2 percentage points, reaching 25.7%). Nonetheless, among young men the increase in this 5-year period from 2016 to 2021 was nearly as large as the increase during the 10-year period from 2006 to 2016 (+2.3 percentage points). 

Educational gaps faced by First Nations people, Métis and Inuit are narrowing at the high school level. In 2021, over half of Inuit aged 25 to 64 had completed high school, up from 45.4% in 2016. At the same time, gaps are widening at the level of a bachelor’s degree or higher for all Indigenous groups.

People with credentials above the bachelor level were better able to weather the labour market shocks of the pandemic, partly due to working in industries that were more suited to remote work. They had higher employment rates and earnings in 2021 than 2016, while those with most other levels of education saw lower employment rates.

Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/221130/dq221130a-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: