Off to Work: Improving the School-to-Work Transition for Recent University Graduates

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Human capital is maximized when a worker’s qualifications and skills match those required by their job. Delayed PSE school-to-work transitions may help to explain Canada’s lacklustre productivity growth.

In an age dominated by disruptive technology, rapidly expanding knowledge, and pervasive innovation, more and more young Canadians are pursuing post-secondary education. Looking back to 1991, slightly less than 1 out of 5 employed Canadians between the ages of 25 to 34 had a university degree. By 2011, the figure had climbed to 1 out of 3.

With a growing pool of post-secondary graduates, this edition of Human Capital Law and Policy examines whether the jobs being created in the economy today efficiently match the supply of educated workers.

Highlights

  • Some research suggests that the typical PSE graduate in Canada will be "underemployed" for three to five years before finding a job appropriate to his/her skill set. Even if only temporary, a period of underemployment represents a skills mismatch and an inefficient use of talent.
  • Human capital is maximized when a worker’s qualifications and skills match those required by their job. Delayed PSE school-to-work transitions may help to explain Canada’s lacklustre productivity growth.
  • The rise of employer demands for skills beyond a bachelor’s degree signals that more can be done to improve the efficiency of the labour market and facilitate school-to-work transitions. This may present an opportunity for BC to lead the pack in boosting the overall economic returns from PSE.
  • If BC can create cross-sectoral partnerships and do a better job on school-to-work transitions, our PSE graduates will be more highly sought after and BC can reap bigger rewards from the investments being made in post-secondary education and training.