University-educated immigrants are underemployed in Canada: Report

Posted by admin on Nov 24th, 2009

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service. November 24, 2009

Two-thirds of university-educated recent immigrants to Canada are underemployed in jobs requiring at most a college education or apprenticeship, according to a Statistics Canada report released Monday. Looking at Canada’s immigrant labour market in 2008, the report found that immigrant wages were lower while involuntary part-time work and temporary employment were more common than among Canadian-born workers. However, after 10 years in Canada, immigrant employment looks similar to that of their Canadian-born counterparts.

In all, more than 1.1 million workers aged 25 to 54 with a university degree were under-employed in jobs requiring a college education or apprenticeship last year, and immigrants are 1.5 times more likely to fall into that category than their Canadian-born counterparts.

Average weekly wages were $23.72 for Canadian-born in the core working age group of 25 to 54, according to the report, $2.28 more than that of immigrant workers. The wage gap was larger — about $5 per hour — among those who had arrived within the last five years and between immigrants and Canadian-born workers with university degrees.

The proportion of immigrants earning less than $10 an hour was 1.8 times higher than Canadian-born workers, and the share of immigrants earning more than $35 an hour is lower than the Canadian-born. The average weekly hours of immigrants in their main job was 38.3 hours last year, just slightly more than the 38.1 hours of Canadian-born workers, and immigrants are less likely to work paid or unpaid overtime.

In 2008, 5.2% of both immigrant and Canadian-born workers were holding down more than one job, but moonlighting immigrants worked 50.0 hours per week on average, 2.3 hours more than their Canadian-born counterparts. The gap was particularly noticeable for those who had been in Canada for 10 years or more, according to Statistics Canada.

Among immigrants who arrived in Canada within the last five years, the proportion who worked in temporary jobs was 16%, double that of their Canadian-born counterparts. However, among those who had been in Canada at least a decade, the number of those working temporary jobs was lower than among Canadian-born workers.

Compared to Canadian-born workers, employed immigrants aged 25 to 54 were younger, more likely to be male, had higher levels of post-secondary education, were more likely to work for smaller companies and tended to work in different occupation groups, according to Statistics Canada.
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