University degrees on the rise – but so are costs, career uncertainty

Grads tend to cluster in fields of study with uncertain returns on investment
By Liz Bernier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/06/2014

As one of the most highly educated countries in the world, Canada has seen its proportion of university graduates rise significantly over the past two decades. But while university degree attainment has risen steadily, so have the costs — and uncertainty about career prospects.

Between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of young workers with a university degree has increased significantly, said Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté, an Ottawa-based economist and editor-in-chief of Insights on Canadian Society.

“There has been a large increase in the proportion of workers aged 25 to 34 with a university degree, so from 19 to 40 per cent among women, and from 17 to 27 (per cent) among men,” said LaRochelle-Côté, who co-authored a Statistics Canada study on the subject.