By global standards, Canada is a well-educated nation. As of 2011, almost two-thirds of the population aged 25 to 64 had completed some form of post-secondary education (PSE) – 27% had a university degree (bachelor’s to doctorate), while 37% possessed a credential from a college, trades, vocational or other post-secondary education or training program. By this broad measure, Canada’s rate of post-secondary attainment is the highest in the world. This should be good news: a well-established trend across the advanced economies is that higher levels of education are generally linked to improved employment prospects as well as to a greater likelihood of being in the workforce.
The difficult job market presently facing many freshly minted university and college graduates in North America and Europe has caused some to question whether the traditional arguments in favour of Post-Secondary Education still apply. In recent years, there have been many news reports and academic studies pointing to the swelling ranks of unemployed and underemployed degree holders – helping to fan doubts about the value of post-secondary credentials.