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La main-d’oeuvre hautement qualifiée au Canada

Avigdor Farine


Cet article présente une analyse descriptive de certaines caractéristiques de la main-d'oeuvre hautement qualifiée au Canada. Une comparaison est également établie entre les diverses provinces canadiennes et plus particulièrement entre le Québec et l’Ontario.


Highly Qualified Manpower in Canada

In 1973, Statistics Canada in cooperation with the Ministry for Science and Technology surveyed 138,000 persons who reported possessing a university degree in the 1971 Census. This Post-Censal Survey is completed and its data has been used for the computation of matrices which provide significant information on the Highly Qualified Manpower (HQM) supply in Canada. The author analyses the various educational and employment characteristics, and compares the HQM of the provinces, particularly that of Québec and Ontario. The article points out the difficulties met by theresearcher who embarks on the study of education-employment complex and the way it works. Difficulties met in manpower forecasting are also emphasized.

Summary of results. The derived ratio HQM/population per province of residence places Ontario first among the provinces, Alberta second, British Columbia third, Manitoba fourth, Nova-Scotia fifth, Québec sixth, etc. It means that these provinces have a larger ratio of HQM per population and the benefit of a relatively more valuable economic resource.

Education is the major activity field of university graduates (33.5%). This occupational sector being saturated, graduates will face more difficulties in finding jobs. While agriculture provides only 1% of HQM occupations, and mining and industry, 10.9%, the services, excluding teaching, represent 42.5% of occupations. There are no major differences in these proportions among the provinces, though variations exist in certain industries. It is worth noting that the percentage of graduates at the three levels of public administration is about 10%, which is representative of the welfare state in which we live. About 12% of graduates mention "no occupation" as their job of longest duration in the twelve months preceding the Survey.

Five to ten years after graduation, the occupational mobility is far-reaching. It is evident that different trainings give access to a plurality of occupations, and that a certain occupation may be fulfilled by individuals coming from a variety of trainings. This underlines the existence of complementarity and substitution in any human capital. Moreover, the occupational mobility suggests that mathematicians, economists, geographers, historians, etc. describe an individual who acquired certain skills in disciplines which could be considered as specific professions, but these skills are transferable from function to function in a large number of occupations. This contributes to the complexity in the education-employment links and to the difficulties in manpower forecasting.

The article does not give any recommendation, but underlines the situation of the Québec HMQ and the need to diversify it.