, Volume 20, Issue 1-2, pp 107-133

Match or mismatch? The employment of immigrant engineers in Canada's labor force

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Using major field of study and labor force data from the 1996 Canadian census, this paper assesses variations in the correspondence between training in engineering fields and employment patterns. Following a review of the issues associated with under-valuation of credentials, comparisons are made between Canadian born men age 30–54 and permanent residents who immigrated at children and those who immigrated at age 28 or later with respect to labor force participation, employment, and occupational location. Permanent residents who immigrated as adults are assumed to be foreign trained. Compared to the Canadian born and to those immigrating as children, this group is the least likely to be in the labor force or employed. When employed, they are less likely to have either manager, engineering or technical occupations, and most likely to be employed in other occupations. This slippage between training and occupational location is the greatest for those permanent residents with only Bachelors degrees. In part, these aggregate findings reflect recency of arrival of those immigrating as adults. For this group, mis-match is strongest within the first few years of arriving in Canada. Men with engineering training who have been in Canada 15 years or more and/or who have Masters and Ph.D. degrees have employment patterns and occupational profiles that more closely correspond to those of their Canadian-born counterparts or those arriving as children.