“Stay in school!” is the rallying cry of many Canadian parents who see education as the key to improving their children’s standard of living. In fact, more education is generally associated with higher salaries and better working conditions. It is also linked to a wide range of other benefits, including increasing a country’s economic prosperity.…
The implication seems clear enough: if education is good, more education must be better. But what if there aren’t enough jobs requiring a university degree?
In the late 1990s, only about one-fifth of jobs were for university-educated workers and the supply and demand for university-educated workers was in balance. But things started to change in the new millennium. Although both the supply and demand for workers with university degrees has increased over the past two decades, the supply has increased at a much faster rate. Today, 34% of workers hold university degrees versus just 18% in 1997. Meanwhile, the share of jobs that typically require a university degrees increased to just 24% in this same period (see Figure 1). Put another way, the gap between supply and demand effectively went from zero to an 10-percentage point difference in just over two decades.
Figure 1: Share of employment among persons with a university degree and in occupations requiring university education, Canada
This shift has resulted in an oversupply of university-educated workers. Today, many graduates face a difficult choice: wait for a position that requires a university degree to become available, accept a position that requires less education, or stop searching for a job altogether. Accepting a position that requires less education than you have obtained results in being overqualified. Overqualification is associated with low levels of job satisfaction, which can lead to a higher turnover within workplaces.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ “Stay in School!”: Is More Education Actually Better? – LMIC-CIMT