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Conference: Professional Overqualification of Graduates - Issues, Measurement, Determinants and Consequences


Monday 24 Apr 2017
From 8:30AM To 3PM

Event organized in collaboration with



Canada's population is increasingly educated, which has a positive impact on the skills of the workforce. In 2011, 52% of adults aged 25 to 64 had a college or university degree. However, one-third of these graduates would be over-qualified for their jobs, that is, they would be working in positions below their qualifications. This raises the question of whether overqualification represents a waste - at least in part - of the considerable resources that society devotes to education. Moreover, since the skills of overqualified workers are not fully utilized, the national productive potential would be underutilized, which is inefficient. On a personal level, overqualification may become a source of frustration and low motivation, as it is often associated with lower pay and less use of skills acquired in school. Organizationally, overqualification increases turnover, resulting in costs to hire and train new employees.


What are the determinants of overqualification? What is the impact on overqualified workers? How does Quebec compare to the rest of Canada and what policies could mitigate the phenomenon?

Brahim Boudarbat

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2004, Brahim Boudarbat is Full Professor in the School of Industrial Relations of the Université de Montréal. He is also Director of the Observatoire de la Francophonie économique de l'Université de Montréal, a Fellow of the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) and a member of the Expert Committee of the Labour Market Information Council.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the Université de Montréal, he is interested in issues related to immigration, post-secondary education, income inequality and working conditions of Canadians. In particular, his research interests and work focus on the integration of immigrants into the labour market in Quebec and Canada, career choices by young Canadians, income distribution, income gaps between men and women, the return on education, overqualification in the job, the use of languages at work and their remuneration in Quebec, the brain drain, indicators of job quality. He is also interested in the education and vocational training systems and youth employment in Morocco.

Brahim Boudarbat is the author of numerous articles and reports on the labour market. He has conducted studies for several organizations, including the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion, Emploi-Québec, the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (Quebec) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. He also participated in the drafting of the 2016 Arab Human Development Report for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Prior to his current position, Brahim Boudarbat was a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He was also Director of the Data Centre of the Université de Montréal, a member organization of the Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS). From 1991 to 1998, Brahim Boudarbat was responsible for employment policies and the monitoring of the professional integration of graduates within the Ministry of Vocational Training in Morocco.

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Maude Boulet

A CIRANO Researcher since 2018, Maude Boulet is Assistant Professor at the École nationale d'administration publique.

Holding a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from Université de Montréal, she is a specialist in employment equity. She is particularly interested in issues related to immigration, women's participation in the labour market and the aging workforce.

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Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve

Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve is Analyst in Labour Statistics at the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

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Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2003, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin has been President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRANO since 2016, has been leading the Baromètre CIRANO project on risk perception in Quebec, which annually collects data on Quebecers' concerns on 47 social issues since 2011, is responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Intelligence and Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation. Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. She is also a Visiting Scientist at Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and an associate researcher at the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO).

Holding a Ph.D. in Management Science (in risks and insurance management) from École normale supérieure de Cachan, her research interests focus on risk management and decision-making in different risks and uncertainty contexts as well as public policies. Her research combines economic analysis, cost-benefit analysis, survey data analysis, and more recently massive unstructured data analysis.

In 2008 she created the RISQH network to raise awareness and share experiences on risks management, and patient safety and quality of care in health care facilities.

She participated in the creation of the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of AI.

She is also co-PI of the "Monitoring and Surveys" function at the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology.

She has published numerous scientific articles, several books and more than 30 reports for government and other organizations. She has given more than a hundred conferences and is regularly solicited to speak in the media.

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Kristyn Frank

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Robert Lacroix

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 1994, Robert Lacroix is Emeritus Professor and Emeritus Rector of the Université de Montréal.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Louvain, his research interests are the economics of labour and human resources, the organization of work within firms and the impact of organizational patterns on employee performance, and the economics of scientific progress and innovation.

Robert Lacroix was Professor in the Department of Economics at the Université de Montréal from 1970 to 2006. He held various positions at the Université de Montréal, including that of Director of the Department of Economics and Director of the Centre of Research in the Economics of Development (CRDE). From 1987 to 1993, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University, and from 1994 to 1998 he was President, CEO and Co-Founder of CIRANO. Robert Lacroix was Rector of the Université de Montréal from June 1998 to May 2005. He was appointed Emeritus Professor of the Université de Montréal in May 2006 and first Emeritus Rector of this institution in May 2011.

Robert Lacroix was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (President 2001-2003), President of the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (2003-2005), Member of the Boards of École Polytechnique, HEC-Montréal, Member and Chair of the Board of the Canada-United States Educational Exchange Foundation (Fulbright Program), Founding Board Member of the Trudeau Foundation, Board Member of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Member of the National Council of Statistics.

In 2005-06 he was a member of the Equalization Expert Group of the Federal Government. From 2007 to 2011, he was a member of the Public Service Advisory Committee appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada. His economic expertise and experience in managing a large organization have led him to sit on the boards of major companies including Industrial Alliance, CAE, Jean Coutu Group and Pomerleau inc.

Robert Lacroix is ​​the author numerous books, book chapters, scientific articles and research reports in labor economics and human resources as well as in economics of technical progress and innovation. His last two books were finalists in the 2010 Donner Prize (Le CHUM, une tragédie québécoise, Boréal) and the Donner Prize 2015 (Les grandes universités de recherche, Presses de l’Université de Montréal / Leading Research Univrsities in a Competitive World, McGill-Queen's University Press).

He is a Member of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the National Order of Quebec, an Officer of the Order of Academic Palms of France and a Member of the Royal Society of Canada.

In 2001, he received the Outstanding Career Award from the National Policy Research Initiative (Ottawa), and in 2002, was named a member of the Academy of Great Montrealers and received the Government of Quebec's Armand-Frappier Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the area of ​​administration and promotion of research.

He holds an honorary doctorate from Lumière University Lyon 2, McGill University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of British Columbia and the University of Ottawa.

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Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté

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Claude Montmarquette

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow from 1994 to 2021, Claude Montmarquette was Emeritus Professor in the Department of Economics at the Université de Montréal.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, he held the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec Chair in Experimental Economics at the Université de Montréal and was President and CEO of CIRANO for more than seven years.

Over the course of his career, Professor Montmarquette has been a visiting professor at several universities. He has chaired and participated in numerous committees for the Government of Quebec and has served on many others, both nationally and internationally. He was an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1998) and a Member of the Order of Canada in 2013. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal the same year. Claude Montmarquette received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McGill University in 2013. In 2016, he was appointed Commander of the Order of Montreal. In 2019, he was named an Officer of the Ordre National du Québec and received the Gérard Parizeau Prize for his work in educational economics.

He is the author or editor of 11 books, 90 scientific articles, and more than 60 public policy papers.

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Mircea Vultur

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2013, Mircea Vultur is Full Professor at the Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).

He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Université Laval, co-responsible for the International Research Committee on the Sociology of Work affiliated with the International Association of French-Speaking Sociologists and responsible for the Work and Professional Integration axis at the Observatoire Jeunes et Société.

Holding a Ph.D. in Sociology from Université Laval, his current research focuses on the professional integration of university graduates and the phenomenon of overqualification.

He has been a visiting professor at several European and South American universities (Université Paris-Dauphine, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UniLaSalle, Université d'Aix-Marseille, Université de Luxembourg, Federal University of Santa Catarina, University of Porto Alegre).

He is the author or coordinator of eight books including La signification du travail (2010 prize of the Fédération francophone des affaires). Among his latest books: La surqualification au Québec et au Canada (dir., Québec, PUL, 2014) and Les agences de travail temporaire : leur rôle et leur fonctionnement comme intermédiaires du marché du travail (codir. J. Bernier, Québec, PUL, 2014).

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8:30 - 8:55
8:55 - 9:00
Welcoming Remarks
9:00 - 9:45
Overqualification of College and University Graduates: The State of Play in Quebec
9:45 - 10:30
Are Postsecondary Graduates Getting Highly Skilled Jobs?
Kristyn Frank
10:30 - 10:45
10:45 - 11:30
Overqualification, Skills and Job Satisfaction
Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté
11:30 - 12:15
Overqualification and Skills Used at Work: Do the Overqualified Always Lose?
Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve
12:15 - 13:15
13:15 - 13:45
Address by Mr. Robert Lacroix, former Rector of the Université de Montréal and CIRANO Fellow / Introduction by Claude Montmarquette
13:45 - 14:30
Overqualification of Immigrants and Visible Minorities
14:30 - 15:15
Overqualification: An Analysis from the Business Perspective
15:15 - 15:15
Closing Remarks


1130 Rue Sherbrooke O #1400, Montréal, QC H3A 2M8, Canada