Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics
Delaying Post-secondary Education: Who Delays and for How Long?
Data and methodology
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The data source for the analysis reported here is Statistics Canada's 2006 Census of Population.
Census questions relating to education changed substantially between 2001 and 2006, to reflect developments in Canada's education system and to take better account of characteristics of immigrants' education. These changes improved the quality of data and provided more precise information on educational attainment as well as fields of study. For the first time, Census information is available on the province, territory or country in which individuals attained their highest level of education. While this new information is central to the purpose of this report, the analysis will draw additional benefits from the extensive amount of information the Census collects on area of residence in Canada, characteristics of immigrants and labour market situation.
Concepts and definitions
Immigrant status and period of landing
Non-immigrants or 'Canadian-born' are persons who are Canadian citizens by birth.
Immigrants are persons who are, or have ever been, landed immigrants in Canada (includes immigrants who landed in Canada prior to Census Day, May 16, 2006).
Very-recent immigrants are persons who have been landed immigrants to Canada for five years or less. In this study, it refers to those who arrived in Canada after 2000.
Recent immigrants are persons who have been landed immigrants to Canada for six to ten years. In this study, it refers to those who arrived in Canada from 1996 to 2000.
Established immigrants are persons who have been landed immigrants to Canada for more than ten years. In this study, it refers to those who arrived in Canada before 1996.
Non-permanent residents are persons from another country who, at the time of the Census, held a Work or Study Permit, or who were refugee claimants.
Immigrant status and region of education
Immigrants are distributed according to their region of education. They are said to be internationally-educated if they reported completing their highest level of education (i.e., certificate, diploma or degree) 'outside Canada,' and Canadian-educated if they reported completing it 'in Canada.'
For the purpose of this study, the following regions of education are considered for the immigrant population: Canada, North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Africa, West Central Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, Southern Asia and Oceania (see Appendix 1 to view the detailed grouping of regions and countries of highest postsecondary education).
In the case of the Canadian-born population, the analysis includes all of those with a postsecondary education, independently of their region of education.
Paid workers: Refers to persons aged 25 to 64 who reported working for pay (i.e., mainly for wages, salaries, tips or commissions) in 2005.
Full-time full-year paid workers: Refers to persons aged 25 to 64 who reported working for pay 49 to 52 weeks during 2005, for 30 hours or more per week.
Methodology – Multivariate regression
'Integration in the Canadian labour market' is an arbitrary concept. For example, it may be understood as a notion of an economic convergence between the individual with respect to a number of statistical measures such as earnings, employment, education, etc. For this reason, there is no attempt in trying to define 'precisely' what should be considered a 'successful' or a 'poor' integration in the labour market for these immigrants. The interpretation is left completely to the discretion of the reader as, in the opinion of the author, such a concept is subject to debate. For the purpose of this study, the following two employment outcomes are used as a measure of 'successful integration in the Canadian labour market:'
- Employment outcome #1 — Working in an occupation corresponding best to their field of study or in an occupation requiring similar or higher skill levels (i.e., having a good education-job skills match); and
- Employment outcome #2 — Having employment earnings at or above the national median earnings of the occupation corresponding best to their field of study (i.e., having a good education-employment earnings match).
The logistic regression analysis reported in this report first considers the contribution of 'given' characteristics to the probability of achieving the two above-mentioned employment outcomes. 'Given' characteristics correspond to the following: immigrant status by period of landing and region of education.
The Canadian-born are used as the reference group for this variable in all models. Immigrants with postsecondary education from different regions are compared with the Canadian-born with a postsecondary education. The variable is constructed so as to combine three factors: region of education, period of landing and immigrant status (immigrant vs. Canadian-born). The observed differences are, therefore, the results of the effects of these three factors. This method offers the advantage of making it possible to simultaneously compare Canadian-educated immigrants with the Canadian-born and internationally-educated immigrants with the Canadian-born. However, the disadvantage is that observed differences between the Canadian-born and immigrants educated in different regions cannot be solely attributed to the effect of region of education, since other factors, such as cohort effects and timing of economic cycles may also play a role in determining labour market outcomes.
Other variables are then added progressively in order to assess both their independent effects and whether they modify the effects of previously-added variables. These additional variables are: sex and age group, marital status and presence of children, level of education and major instructional program, province, territory and area of residence, language ability, visible minority status and, in the case of Employment outcome #1 regarding the likelihood of having a good education-job skills match, a variable defining the full/part-time and full/part-year status of employment.
The logic behind this approach is that immigrants do possess certain 'given' characteristics (i.e., they either completed their highest level of education in Canada or abroad, and they landed in Canada during different time period). Their outcomes in the Canadian labour market (positive or not) can then be influenced by various socio-demographic characteristics (i.e., sex, age, marital status, presence of children), educational characteristics (level of education and major instructional program), geographical location (province, territory and area of residence), as well as by their language ability in one of the two official languages, whether they belong to a visible minority group, and, in the case of Employment outcome #1, by the full/part-time and full/part-year status of employment.
Logistic regression analysis
Logistic regression analysis produces odds ratios, which, in this study, are used to assess whether, other things being equal, internationally-educated immigrant paid workers1 with specific characteristics are more or less likely to successfully integrate in the Canadian labour market compared to those in another (reference) group.
For example, consider the likelihood of having a good education-job skills match for a woman as compared to a man. An odds ratio less than 1.0 implies that those in the group being considered are less likely to report working in their field of study or in an equivalent occupation than the reference group; an odds ratio greater than 1.0 implies that those in the group being considered are more likely to report working in such types of occupation than those in the reference category.
To illustrate, consider two scenarios: 1) males being the reference category and females having an odds ratio of 0.65, and 2) males being the reference category and females having an odds ratio of 1.75. The first scenario indicates that females are 35% less likely than males to have a good education-job skills match, whereas the second scenario indicates that females are 75% more likely than males to have such a match.
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Population of study
Given the purpose of this report, which is to identify the factors and determinants most likely leading to a 'successful' integration of internationally-educated immigrants in the Canadian labour market, only individuals (excluding institutional residents and non-permanent residents) in the core working-age group of 25 to 642 with a postsecondary education who reported not attending school in 2006 and working for pay (full-time full-year or not) were included. There were about 7.4 million individuals with such characteristics in Canada in 2006. These individuals represent about 43% of the 17.2 million Canadian-born and landed immigrants aged 25 to 64 in 2006.
To determine if these individuals were working in their field of study or in an equivalent occupation3, only those who reported having completed their postsecondary education in one of the instructional programs leading to the targeted occupations as identified by the FCR Program at HRSDC were selected (see Appendix 2 for the list of targeted occupations). Of the 7.4 million paid workers aged 25 to 64 with a postsecondary education who were not attending school in 2006, about 4.9 million (or 67%) reported credentials leading to such types of occupations.
Major instructional programs
The instructional programs leading to the targeted occupations as identified by the FCR Program at HRSDC were selected based on the best possible match between a given occupation and the instructional program using the 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) and the 2006 National Occupational Classification – Statistics (NOC-S) (see Appendix 3 for the concordance between instructional programs and targeted occupations).
For the purpose of this report, these instructional programs were grouped according to the skill type required for the best corresponding occupation: business, finance, and administration occupations; natural and applied sciences and related occupations; health occupations; occupations in social science, education, government service and religion; occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport; sales and service occupations; and trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations.
The skill level is defined according to the National Occupational Classification Matrix 2006 produced by HRSDC (see Appendix 4 for more details on this Matrix and the skill level associated with the targeted occupations).
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The population of study used in the different models differs slightly between the two employment outcomes. While the model used for Employment outcome #1 includes all of the 4.9 million paid workers aged 25 to 64 who reported a postsecondary credential in a field of study that would normally lead to work in one of the targeted occupations as identified by the FCR Program at HRSDC, the model used for the Employment outcome #2 only kept those who reported working for pay on a full-time full-year basis (that is, 3.3 million out of 4.9 million). This additional filter was added to eliminate earnings differences attributable to the number of hours worked throughout the year. Individuals working on a part-time basis were kept for the first model as this situation may represent one of the factors influencing the likelihood of working in the best corresponding or in an equivalent occupation.
Following from these selection criteria, the population of study for the two measured employment outcomes is distributed as follows:
A note on self-employed workers
Self-employed workers are excluded from this study since their earnings distribution differs systematically from that of workers who work for wages and salaries (i.e., work for pay). As Census income data follows definitions used in tax files, this is likely related to the way in which self-employed workers report their income. Since self-employed workers are able to claim expenses for their businesses, they frequently report negative self-employment earnings. As shown in a recent Statistics Canada study on the high education / low income paradox, self-employed workers are often over-represented in the lowest earnings category (Zeman, McMullen and de Broucker 2010).
For the purpose of this study, workers were considered to be self-employed if they reported that their main job4 was as a self-employed worker. Table 3.2 shows the proportion of self-employed workers in 2005 aged 25 to 64 among all workers within the same age group by immigrant status, location of study and period of landing. As shown in this table, a larger proportion of internationally-educated immigrants (8%) than Canadian-born with a postsecondary education (7%) and Canadian-educated immigrants (7%) were self-employed in 2005. This situation was mostly attributable to internationally-educated immigrants established in Canada for more than ten years, at 10%. In comparison, about 8% of recent and 6% of very-recent internationally-educated immigrants reported being self-employed during that year.
- Individuals in the labour market may be either paid workers (that is, working for an employer) or self-employed. The analysis in this report focuses on individuals who are paid workers.
- Individuals aged 25 to 64 are more likely than other age groups to have completed school and be available for participating in the labour force.
- Individuals are said to be working in an equivalent occupation when, although not working in the occupation corresponding best to their field of study, they reported working in an occupation requiring similar or higher skill levels (e.g., individuals with credentials in engineering working as architect).
- The job reported was the one held in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to enumeration (May 16, 2006) if the person was employed, or the job of longest duration since January 1, 2005, if the person was not employed during the reference week. Persons with two or more jobs in the reference week were asked to provide information for the job at which they worked the most hours.
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