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Human Capital Law & Policy >>

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

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.


  • 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.

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