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Many arts graduates are overqualified for jobs

One in three university graduates with a humanities degree are overqualified for their jobs, a new study has found.


One in three university graduates with a humanities degree are overqualified for their jobs, a new study has found.

A Statistics Canada study, released Wednesday, found that even as the percentage of university graduates has risen over the past two decades, the proportion that is overqualified has remained stable.

While many with an arts degree were overqualified in their professional lives, fewer than 15 per cent of men and women with a university degree in education, health, architecture and engineering were working in jobs where they did not require their level of education.

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The research also found that the proportion of women grew in many occupations between 1991 and 2011.

Female university graduates strengthened their footholds in fields such as health policy, human resources, general practitioners and family physicians. And the share of women without a university degree grew in occupations such as police officers.

Still, the study found that many women gravitated to the same occupations as they did 20 years prior.

The three most common occupations for women with a university degree were registered nurse, elementary school and kindergarten teacher, and high-school teacher. These occupations accounted for more than 20 per cent of all female university graduates in both 1991 and 2011.

The three most common occupations for university-educated men – computer programmers, financial auditors and accountants – were similar in 2011 as in 1991.

The Statscan research looked at the the occupations of men and women in Canada during a period in which educational attainment rose.

It found that between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of young workers between the ages of 25 and 34 with a university degree doubled to 40 per cent for women, and rose to 27 per cent from 17 per cent for men.

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Over that same time, the proportion of young men and women in professional occupations that require a university education also rose, while those who worked in occupations requiring a high school education or less declined.

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About the Author
Education Reporter

Caroline Alphonso is an education reporter for The Globe and Mail. More


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