Immigrant skill utilization in the Canadian labour market: Implications of human capital research

  • Jeffrey G. Reitz
Policy Matters


The quantitative significance of the underutilization of immigrant skills may be assessed, albeit imprecisely, in human-capital earnings analysis. Earnings deficits of immigrants may arise from: (a) lower immigrant skill quality, (b) underutilization of immigrant skills, and (c) pay inequities for immigrants doing the same work as native-born Canadians. Consistent with numerous studies, data from the 1996 census micro-data show that underutilization of immigrant skills is significant, though less so than unequal pay within occupations. In 1996 dollars, the total annual immigrant earnings deficit from all three sources was $15.0 billion, of which $2.4 billion was related to skill underutilization, and $12.6 billion was related to pay inequity. Discussion considers adjustments to these estimates, taking account of difficulties measuring the skill levels of occupations and immigrant skill quality.

Key words

Immigrants earnings labour markets human capital occupational attainment discrimination 


La signification quantitative de la sous-utilisation des qualifications immigrées peut être évaluée, quoique sans précision, dans l'analyse humain-capitale de revenus. Les déficits de revenus des immigrés peuvent surgir de: (a) la qualité immigrée inférieure de compétence, (b) sous-utilisation des qualifications immigrées, et (c) injustices de salaire pour des immigrés faisant la même chose fonctionnent les Canadiens indigènesoutenus. Conformé aux nombreuses études, données des micro-données 1996 de recensement prouvent que la sous-utilisation des qualifications immigrées est significative, cependant moins ainsi que le salaire inégal dans des métiers. En 1996 dollars, tout le déficit immigré annuel de revenus de chacune des trois sources était $15,0 milliards, dont $2,4 milliards ont été liés à la sous-utilisation de compétence, et $12,6 milliards ont été liés à l'injustice de salaire. La discussion considère des ajustements à ces évaluations, tenant compte des difficultés mesurant les niveaux de compétence des métiers et de la qualité immigrée de compétence.


rémunération marchés du travail capital humain réussite professionnelle 


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Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey G. Reitz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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