University Graduates: Socio-economic Perspectives on Graduation, Job Entry and Overqualification.
This colloquium, organized by the Chaire-réseau de recherche sur la jeunesse du Québec and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), provided an opportunity to report on current changes in the relationship between the university education system and the labour market based on recent data and unpublished analyses.
In Quebec and in Canada, political leaders and heads of academic institutions are proclaiming in various forums that the number of highly educated people must be increased, with the avowed goal of fostering a positive economic dynamic and maintaining the competitiveness of our economies on a global scale. Other social actors, including civil society organizations, support the expansion of university education for economic reasons, but also to preserve and enhance the ideal of equal opportunity that allows for the social advancement of individuals and upward intergenerational mobility. Economic logic supports these positions, which are as much about collective benefits as they are about the private interests of individuals. University graduates, the main category of highly skilled labour, are the engine of economic innovation and a recruitment pool for the most complex jobs created by the knowledge economy and producing entrepreneurs, themselves a source of opportunities for other categories of labour.
However, a less optimistic narrative derived from research data reveals that, despite the indisputable benefits, university education is not equally accessible to all, and university graduates face numerous difficulties in terms of access to education, insertion into the labour market, and matching their training to the jobs they hold.