L’évolution de la surqualification en emploi au Québec 1971-2016
Authors: Louis Cornelissen
This thesis analyzes the evolution of the prevalence of overqualification in Quebec using census data from 1971 to 2016. Until now, studies on the evolution of overqualification in Quebec have covered at most the period from 1990 to 2012 and have paid little attention to certain important factors of differentiation (education level, field of study, age, cohort, gender, immigration). This thesis seeks to fill this gap. Studying the dynamics of overqualification is particularly valuable in that it allows us to test a wide variety of theories regarding the relationships between education and employment. I first analyze changes over time in the structure of educational qualifications in the workforce and in the structure of the skill levels of jobs, as well as in the overlap between these structures. Whereas in 1971 the number of high skilled jobs was higher than the number of workers holding corresponding degrees, this situation was reversed over time. Due to the rapid rise in educational attainment and the slower rise in the skill level of jobs, the number of postsecondary graduates has outpaced the number of corresponding jobs, meaning that overqualification is increasingly becoming structurally inevitable for some workers. Over the past decades, overqualification rates in the labour force have increased, in part simply as a result of the increase in educational attainment and therefore of the number of workers for whom it is possible to experience overqualification, but also as a result of an increase in the risks of overqualification among graduates with the same level of education. Overall, when it comes to access to high skilled jobs, educational credentials are becoming both more necessary and less sufficient. Age-period-cohort models are used to estimate the respective effects of these different dimensions of change over time. Cohort effects on the probability of overqualification are observed. Age effects take a “U” shape, the youngest and oldest workers showing the highest risks of overqualification. Differences by gender and place of birth (Canada or outside Canada) are also examined.
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