When it comes to obtaining higher education, women continue to outpace men, while newcomers are arriving in Canada with more post-secondary experience than the average person who was born here. According to figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, women ages 25 to 64 now hold 54 per cent of all university degrees, and 60 per cent of the degrees among young adults (25 to 34 years of age).
But women remain underrepresented, compared with men, in the so-called “STEM” fields: science and technology, engineering, math and computers.
Meanwhile, the Statistics Canada data suggest immigrants comprise just one-quarter of Canada’s total adult population but account for more than one-third of all adults with a university degree. They most likely to have earned their credentials abroad come from the Philippines, India, the U.K., China and the United States.
What’s difficult to extrapolate from the 2011 National Household Survey, however, is whether immigrants and women with degrees are actually working in their respective fields, whether they’re climbing the corporate ladder and whether they’re being compensated appropriately for their job.
It’s no secret that immigrants, despite often-high levels of education, face language barriers, credential-recognition difficulties and higher levels of underemployment and unemployment.
While the government is taking steps to level the playing field for women and ensure Canada welcomes newcomers who are most likely to be successful, experts argue there is still a way to go.