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A recent report from StatCan shows that there has been a huge increase in the number of newcomers to Canada who are landing jobs that match their education. But is the shift good enough?

Key Takeaways

  • Recent immigrants are defined as permanent residents of Canada for 10 years or less.
  • The report reviewed overeducation rates as well as education-to-occupation matches.
  • 59% of employment growth from 2016 to 2021 for recent immigrants with a bachelor’s degree was in high-skilled occupations.
  • The overeducation rate dropped from 31.1% in 2016 to 26.7% in 2021.
  • The education-to-occupation rate increased from 40% in 2016 to 44.4% in 2021.
  • Although these improvements are positive, recent immigrants’ rate of education to occupation is still lower than it was 20 years ago.

What Do The Statistics Tell Us?

A recently published report from StatCan shows that among recent immigrants with a bachelor’s degree: 

  • 59% of employment growth from 2016 to 2021 was in high-skilled occupations 
  • Just 32% of employment growth was in high-skilled occupations from 2001 to 2016. 

This represents a huge shift in the types of employment recent immigrants are securing, suggesting more immigrants are landing jobs that match their educational qualifications.

There was no data available after 2021, so we are unsure whether this trend has continued through to 2024.

Why Is This Important?

Overeducation refers to workers having higher education than needed to do their job. An example of this would be a bachelor’s graduate working as a receptionist. 

The education-to-occupation match represents the % of immigrants that have an occupation that is equal to their level of education. Immigrants with a bachelor’s degree would need an occupation falling under a Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) level 1 to be considered an education-to-occupation match. For instance, a bachelor’s graduate working as a Computer Engineer would be an education-to-occupation match. A bachelor’s graduate working as a Receptionist would be considered an education-to-occupation mismatch.

The education-to-occupation match and overeducation rate of recent immigrants is often used as an indicator for long-term prospects for economic integration into Canada. This is because studies suggest that workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher who have low-skilled occupations early in their careers have increasingly lower chances of transitioning to high-skilled occupations over time.

While the increase is encouraging, the rate of education to occupation is still lower than it was 20 years ago. This is shown by the fact that in 2021, the overeducation rate for established immigrants (those who have been a PR for more than 10 years) was 17.1 % compared to the overeducation rate of recent immigrants at 26.7%. This means that 20 years ago, fewer immigrants were overeducated and therefore had a better education-to-occupation match. 

What Caused The Increase in 2021? 

The StatCan report compares 2016 to 2021 numbers with those reported from 2001 to 2016. 

Experts put the drop in the overeducation rate and improved education-to-occupation match down to a change in recent economic immigrants on a federal and provincial level. 

In 2015, the Express Entry system was introduced in part to tackle the issue of education-to-occupation-match among recent immigrants. This has been partially achieved given the overeducation rate decreased from 26.7% to 19.9% for applicants coming through the Federal Skilled Worker system and 14.1% to 12.4% for applicants coming via the Canadian Experience Class, two immigration programs that now use the Express Entry system to source applicants.

This, along with a stronger need for high-skilled workers has resulted in the improvement noted in the StatCan report. However, much more progress is needed to make the overeducation rate and education-to-occupation match better and more equitable for immigrants to Canada. 

What Can Recent Immigrants Do to Increase Their Chances of Securing High-Skilled Work?

Securing high-skilled work in Canada as a recent immigrant can be tough. Canadian companies have a hiring preference towards those with Canadian work experience, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to increase your chances of securing high-skilled employment. These include:

  • Updating your resume to Canadian standards: As all countries have slightly different expectations when it comes to what should be included in your resume if you are applying for positions in Canada, make sure your resume is in line with what Canadian companies are looking for. We have a great guide that goes into this. 
  • Get accredited: Accreditation may not be needed for you to immigrate to Canada but it will help you secure employment in a high skilled position. This is especially true if that position has an associated accreditation board. 
  • Network: A lot of employment opportunities start with who you know. Be sure to network with professionals in your industry to increase your chances of securing a high-skilled position. Note that Canadian employers are typically not likely to offer jobs on the spot for anyone online who simply asks for a job. It’s usually better to add industry contacts on LinkedIn and engage there without asking for a job right away. 

If you are looking for a job in Canada, be sure to sign up for a free Moving2Canada account where you will have access to our Canadian resume and cover letter templates. You’ll also receive our free Getting Started Guide, which gives exclusive access to our proven techniques for accelerating your job search in Canada.

About the author

Ruairi Spillane profile picture

Ruairi Spillane

Founder & CEO - Finance & Recruitment Specialist
As the founder and CEO of Moving2Canada, Ruairi has been advising newcomers on how to immigrate, settle, and succeed in their new lives in Canada since 2011. He is a frequent contributor to discussions on Canadian immigration and has earned several recognitions for his expertise in the immigration space.
Read more about Ruairi Spillane
Citation "Increase in Immigrants Finding Jobs that Match Qualifications." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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