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Is the glass half empty or half full? : Obstacles and opportunities that highly educated immigrants encounter… Adamuti-Trache, Maria 2010

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  IS  THE  GLASS  HALF  EMPTY  OR  HALF  FULL?  OBSTACLES  AND  OPPORTUNITIES  THAT HIGHLY  EDUCATED  IMMIGRANTS  ENCOUNTER  IN  THE SEGMENTED  CANADIAN  LABOUR  MARKET   by  Maria Adamuti-Trache  M.A., University of British Columbia, CANADA, 2003 Ph.D., University of Bucharest, ROMANIA, 1991     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Educational Studies)   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)  February 2010  © Maria Adamuti-Trache, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                            ii ABSTRACT This dissertation challenges the worth of a university degree in the segmented Canadian labour market by revealing systemic patterns of differential return to education due to social structural factors (e.g., gender, age, visible minority, immigrant status) and available capital (e.g., human, cultural, social, symbolic capital). The portrayal of obstacles raised in the Canadian labour market and opportunities for further education offered by the post-secondary system defines two dimensions of the social space in which knowledge workers unfold their life course trajectories. This is also the social space in which highly educated immigrants who arrived in Canada in the early 2000s compete for social positions. The dissertation is based on four empirical studies, which employ large-scale survey data to analyze employment and further education participation by university educated adults in relation to individual, situational and dispositional factors. The analysis of findings engages Bourdieu’s sociological framework to examine the process through which human capital available to university graduates is transformed over life course, and the critical problem of the devaluation of foreign human capital in the Canadian labour market. The analysis considers the role of non-human capitals to explain issues with immigrants’ employment and participation in post-secondary education in Canada. The main argument is grounded in life course research and recognizes that the transformation of human capital occurs through the strategic actions of a socially situated bounded agency which is capable to adjust to changes in the social context. I put forward the idea that the notion of habitus as a generative structure of practical action is essential to understanding the manifestation of bounded agency during life course transitions. I argue that one’s habitus, viewed as implicit knowledge built over life course, could be the most unique resource available to recent highly educated immigrants to help them overcome the many obstacles raised by the Canadian social structures in their journey to integration. Meanwhile, the Canadian society must improve the view on highly educated immigrants and recognize their value as global knowledge workers and messengers of other cultures: they are a viable resource, creating ‘opportunities’ for learning in workplaces, educational institutions and communities.  iii TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................................... iii LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................................... vii LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................. viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .......................................................................................................... ix DEDICATION ...............................................................................................................................x CO-AUTHORSHIP STATEMENT .......................................................................................... xi 1   INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................1  1.1 Preamble .............................................................................................................................1  1.2 Purpose of the study ...........................................................................................................3 1.3 Background to the problem ................................................................................................8 1.3.1 Immigrants to Canada ................................................................................................8 1.3.2 Canada’s knowledge workers ..................................................................................11 1.3.3 Canadian labour market ...........................................................................................15 1.3.4 Background summary ..............................................................................................22 1.4 Theoretical framework .....................................................................................................24 1.4.1 Human capital ..........................................................................................................25 1.4.2 A sociological perspective .......................................................................................33 1.4.3 Proposed conceptual framework .............................................................................49 1.5 Research method ..............................................................................................................55 1.5.1 Research theme ........................................................................................................55 1.5.2 Empirical studies .....................................................................................................55 1.5.3 Database characteristics ...........................................................................................56 1.5.4 Sample characteristics .............................................................................................57 1.5.5 Statistical methods and research designs .................................................................58 1.5.6 Limitations, delimitations and issues related to the research analysis ....................58 1.6 References .........................................................................................................................61 2   EXPLORING  THE  RELATIONSHIP  BETWEEN  EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS  AND  THE  EARNINGS  OF  IMMIGRANTS ....................................70  2.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................70  2.2 Background ......................................................................................................................72  iv 2.2.1 Social structures .......................................................................................................72 2.2.2 Individual differences ..............................................................................................74 2.2.3 Educational credentials ............................................................................................75  2.3 Method .............................................................................................................................77 2.3.1 Objectives ................................................................................................................77 2.3.2 Data ..........................................................................................................................77 2.3.3 Sample .....................................................................................................................78 2.3.4 Variables ..................................................................................................................78 2.4 Findings ............................................................................................................................79 2.4.1 Profiles of respondents ............................................................................................79 2.4.2 Immigrant and non-immigrant comparison of earnings ..........................................81 2.4.3 Immigrant education and earnings ..........................................................................82  2.5 Summary and discussion .................................................................................................85   2.6 References .......................................................................................................................88 3   THE  LABOUR  MARKET  VALUE  OF  LIBERAL  ARTS  AND  APPLIED EDUCATION  PROGRAMS:  EVIDENCE  FROM  BRITISH  COLUMBIA ..............91  3.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................91  3.2 Review of literature and theoretical framework ...............................................................92  3.3 Data collection and research design .................................................................................96 3.3.1 Research sample ......................................................................................................98 3.4 Study findings ................................................................................................................100 3.4.1 Transition from school to work and continuing studies over time ........................100 3.4.2 Educational goals and further education ...............................................................106 3.5 Discussion of findings ....................................................................................................109 3.6 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................112        3.7 References ......................................................................................................................114 4   FURTHER  EDUCATION  PATHWAYS  OF  CANADIAN  UNIVERSITY      GRADUATES ......................................................................................................................116  4.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................116  4.2 Literature review ............................................................................................................117 4.2.1 Education and training in the knowledge-based economy ....................................117 4.2.2 Providers of further education and training in Canada ..........................................119 4.2.3 Individual as investor in further education ............................................................120  v  4.3 Method ...........................................................................................................................122 4.3.1 Research questions ................................................................................................122 4.3.2 Variables ................................................................................................................122 4.3.3 Research sample ....................................................................................................124 4.4 Study findings ................................................................................................................125 4.4.1 Further education opportunities .............................................................................125 4.4.2 Modeling choice of further education pathways ...................................................126 4.4.3 Labour market outcomes in 2005 ..........................................................................130 4.5 Discussion ......................................................................................................................132        4.6 References ......................................................................................................................136 5   FIRST  FOUR  YEARS  IN  CANADA:  POST-SECONDARY  EDUCATION      PATHWAYS  OF  HIGHLY  EDUCATED  IMMIGRANTS .........................................139  5.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................139  5.2 Review of literature ........................................................................................................141 5.2.1 The social context of recent immigration to Canada .............................................141 5.2.2 Conceptual framework ..........................................................................................143  5.3 Methodology ..................................................................................................................146 5.3.1 Adult education models .........................................................................................146 5.3.2 Data ........................................................................................................................147 5.3.3 Sample ...................................................................................................................147 5.3.4 Research design .....................................................................................................147 5.3.5 Variables ................................................................................................................148 5.4 Findings ..........................................................................................................................151 5.4.1 Employment and PSE participation in Canada .....................................................151 5.4.2 Basis of post-secondary education choice .............................................................152 5.4.3 PSE pathway profiles ............................................................................................159 5.5 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................161  5.6 References ......................................................................................................................164 6   CONCLUDING  CHAPTER ..............................................................................................168 6.1 Summaries of studies ......................................................................................................168 6.2 Method ............................................................................................................................172 6.2.1 Proposed methodological approaches ...................................................................173 6.2.2 Model operationalization: Constructs and variables .............................................174  vi 6.3 Analysis of findings: Canadian structures .......................................................................179 6.3.1 Canadian labour market as field of practice .........................................................180 6.3.2 Canadian post-secondary education as field of practice .......................................189 6.3.3 Work and learning in the Canadian context .........................................................197 6.4 Discussion and interpretation ..........................................................................................202 6.4.1 Evidence of bounded agency for university graduates .........................................202 6.4.2 Life course agency model and the integration of immigrants ...............................212 6.5 Significance of the study and future research .................................................................224        6.5.1 Relevance to the adult and higher education field of study .................................224 6.5.2 Implications for higher education policy and practice .........................................226 6.5.3 Future research .....................................................................................................229 6.6 Conclusion and final remarks...........................................................................................231 6.7 References .......................................................................................................................237  APPENDICES ...........................................................................................................................243 Appendix A ...........................................................................................................................243 Appendix B ...........................................................................................................................245 Appendix C ...........................................................................................................................246 Appendix D ...........................................................................................................................247 Appendix E ............................................................................................................................249 Appendix F ............................................................................................................................251                vii LIST  OF  TABLES  Table 1.1    Percentage change in average earnings (holders of university degrees, working full-    time full-year) ............................................................................................................19 Table 1.2    Average earnings ($) of recent immigrants (holders of university degrees, aged 25 to    54) by number of years in Canada  ............................................................................20 Table 1.3    Total number and average income in 2005 $ (holders of university certificates or     degrees) ......................................................................................................................21 Table 2.1    Profiles of respondents by immigrant status, visible minority and gender ................80 Table 2.2    Regression model .......................................................................................................82 Table 3.1    Distribution of research sample by type of program and gender ...............................98 Table 3.2    Distribution of research sample by type of program, gender and age .......................99 Table 3.3    Employment status and participation in further education by type of program ......102 Table 3.4    Employment status and participation in further education by gender .....................102 Table 3.5    Employment status and participation in further education by age groups ...............104 Table 3.6    Median income by type program, age and gender over time ...................................105 Table 3.7    Initial educational goals & goals attainment one year after graduation ..................107 Table 3.8    Further education and training (five years after graduation) ...................................108 Table 4.1    Multinomial regression models – Choice of further education pathways ...............127 Table 4.2a  Job characteristics by further education pathway: Bachelor’s degree in 2005 ........131 Table 4.2b  Job characteristics by further education pathway: Graduate degree in 2005 ..........131 Table 5.1    Percentage of immigrants by employment and PSE participation status .................151 Table 5.2    Descriptive statistics of variables used in the model ................................................153 Table 5.3    Multinomial regression models – Choice of PSE pathways ....................................155 Table 5.4    PSE pathway choices by demographic factors (row %) ..........................................159 Table 5.5    PSE pathway choices by immigrant-specific factors (row %) .................................160 Table 5.6    PSE pathway choices by work-related factors (row % and means) .........................160 Table 6.1    Variables and constructs - by research study ...........................................................175 Table 6.2    Job characteristics by level of university education (2005) .....................................181 Table 6.3    Earnings scale by social and human capital markers ...............................................183 Table 6.4    Labour market participation by recent immigrants and Canadian-educated                    graduates ...................................................................................................................186 Table 6.5    Participation rates in further education (PSE and non-formal education) ...............191 Table 6.6    Choice of further education and/or PSE pathways (row %) ....................................193 Table 6.7    Most important difficulty in getting education and training (column %).................196 Table 6.8    Employment status and participation in further education (row %) ........................200  viii LIST  OF  FIGURES  Figure 1.1    Origin of immigrants to Canada 1956-1997 ...............................................................9 Figure 1.2a  Bachelor and first professional degrees, 1987-2002 (Females) ................................13 Figure 1.2b  Bachelor and first professional degrees, 1987-2002 (Males) ...................................14 Figure 1.3    Proportion of women in professional occupations ...................................................17 Figure 1.4    Gender wage gap in professional occupations .........................................................18 Figure 1.5    Life course agency model .........................................................................................50 Figure 2.1    Earnings ($) by origin of education (adjusted means) ..............................................83 Figure 2.2    Earnings ($) by level of education (adjusted means) ...............................................84 Figure 2.3    Earnings ($) by field of study (adjusted means) .......................................................85 Figure 6.1    Model operationalization ........................................................................................174 Figure 6.2    Median earnings (2001 BC $) by age, gender and type of program ......................185 Figure 6.3    Acceptance of foreign work experience by PSE participation over time ...............199    ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  This work would not have been possible without the encouragement of many people in the Department of Educational Studies and the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. I offer my regards to all of those who supported me in any respect during the completion of my doctoral degree. In particular, I am heartily grateful to Dr. Kjell Rubenson, who agreed to be my dissertation advisor and who supported the idea that I could prepare a manuscript-based dissertation. He encouraged me to approach the research topic of this dissertation; he provided continuous advice and made available to me his extensive knowledge in the field of adult education. I would like to thank my committee members: Dr. Andre Mazawi, for sharing his expertise in educational research from the initial stage of my doctoral program and for challenging me to take a stand for my ideas and research findings; and Dr. Paul Anisef, for his attentive guidance, which enabled me to enhance my dissertation, and for the fruitful research relationship that we developed over the years. The feedback and comments in our committee meetings were not only helpful to the development and writing of this dissertation, but have led to stimulating discussions that I will always cherish. I also owe my deepest gratitude to Dr. Lesley Andres from whom I started to learn about educational research years ago and who guided my steps into the doctoral program for the first three years. There are many other people with whom I have collaborated during the past five years and who supported me during this journey. I would like to thank Dr. Robert Sweet, Dr. Hans Schuetze, Dr. Colleen Hawkey and Dr. Victor Glickman, with whom I published two papers that constitute chapters in my dissertation. Being part of research teams and working collaboratively with others has been a privilege that has contributed to my formation as an educational researcher. Finally, I appreciate the patience of my family and friends who are scattered around the world, and their understanding of my commitment to this doctoral degree. I am particularly blessed to have three children who share my respect for and joy of intellectual endeavours. They have always been interested in my work and have often been the first readers of my manuscripts. More than anything else, my children’s love and support made this journey possible.  x DEDICATION                                                     To my wonderful children and grandchildren,        Enjoy your journeys through life   xi CO-AUTHORSHIP  STATEMENT I hereby declare that this dissertation incorporates material that is a result of joint research, as follows: 1. Chapter 2: Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. This paper was published in 2005 in Canadian Studies in Population: it was co-authored with Dr. Robert Sweet. - We collaborated on the identification and design of the research paper; - I was responsible for performing the data analyses; - We collaborated on manuscript preparation; - I had a primary responsibility for the final content and for completing the revisions requested by the editor. 2. Chapter 3: The Labour market value of liberal arts and applied education programs: Evidence from British Columbia. This paper was published in 2006 in The Canadian Journal of Higher Education: it was co-authored with Drs. Colleen Hawkey, Hans Schuetze and Victor Glickman. - I had a significant contribution in the identification and design of the research paper; - I was responsible for performing the data analyses; - I had a major contribution for manuscript preparation; - I had a primary responsibility for the final content and for completing the revisions requested by the editor. I certify that I have properly acknowledged the contribution of other researchers to the publications included in this dissertation, and that I obtained permission from my co-authors to include the above materials in my dissertation.  1 1   INTRODUCTION 1.1 Preamble Identifying a research question is the result of a process in which the researcher is often involved through a personal narrative. My research interest in the worth of a university degree in the Canadian labour market is certainly related to my experience as an adult immigrant to Canada. My effort to integrate in Canada has been very pragmatic in scope with a major focus on my career. I have been very open to understanding the Canadian way of life and to finding my place in the new home country by adjusting my cultural values. Although I did not experience significant conflicts of social or cultural norms, I acknowledge that the integration process could be more complex for other immigrants. I arrived to Canada in mid 1990s as a skilled physicist with a doctoral degree and many years of work experience, most of them in university teaching and research. I have always thought that these were positive assets that would allow for a rapid integration. I soon realized that I also had liabilities related to my age and country of origin, and being a woman working in a male- dominated field. I believe now that the latter two aspects created the most significant obstacles to continuing my scientific path in academia. First, except for a couple of years of research done abroad in Western Europe and the United States, my work experience was limited to Romania, the country where I grew up and where I obtained my educational credentials. Lacking a professional network recognized by Canadian physicists was an impediment to continuation in the field. Overall, it soon became clear to me that Canadian employers were not familiar with the Eastern European educational and/or occupational systems: that, I perceived as a potential threat to my continuing career in physics. Second, in many developed countries, including Canada, physical science is a field in which women struggle to overcome more barriers than their male counterparts and, as a result, are obviously under-represented (see, e.g. Glover, 2000). Many women scientists who immigrate to Canada -especially from non-Anglophone countries- experience similar difficulties in continuing in their fields (Fowler & Adamuti-Trache, 2002). As a result, like many other first-generation immigrants, I had the desire to work hard and I was ready to redesign my career. Since I have recognized from the beginning that immigrating to Canada was the most challenging event of my life, I (somehow) consciously started to strategize  2 my actions in order to make my Canadian journey as successful and enjoyable as possible. Soon after arrival, my first job with the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia was the event that marked a crucial change in my career path. It helped me to understand that besides being a physicist, I have also been a practitioner in the field of higher education; that adult and higher education is a field of research that is no less interesting than physics; and that in Canada, an adult can engage in education while continuing to work. As a result, I decided to start graduate studies in the field of education (Adamuti-Trache, Braendel, Long, & Mitchell, 2001), and for the past ten years, my journey as an immigrant and a professional has continued along a combined work and learning pathway. This journey has not been without challenges. Like many immigrants, I have to find ways to fit the pieces of the puzzle together in order to make my past and current experience meaningful to Canadian employers. Like many Canadian women, I am affected by the structuration of the labour market, which places tougher barriers to women’s career growth. Like many Canadian professionals, I have to function in a complex labour market configured by groups of power and controlled by institutional structures that raise additional barriers in some occupations. Like many adult learners, I also have to handle parental obligations which are a blessing but also a constraint when making bold educational and career decisions. However, although I have experienced obstacles, I consider that the Canadian system has also offered me opportunities. The decision-making process and developing my ability to consciously reflect upon the life course choices that I made during the last ten years have been the most challenging and exciting part of my journey as immigrant. As a researcher in higher education, I am now taking this opportunity to examine how other individuals with similar level of education (i.e., university degrees) distinguish between obstacles and opportunities, how they make choices while being constrained by social structural factors and institutional structures and to what extent past experiences and dispositions support them to reach specific goals during their own life course. I acknowledge that social contexts and global markets pose challenges to all highly educated workers who either enter the labour market or make educational and/or employment changes throughout life courses in an effort to optimize the value of their university degrees. However, my own experience and that of others suggest that obstacles are higher for recent university-educated immigrants to Canada who struggle to define  3 their professional identity while building a life for themselves and their families in a new home country. I trust this dissertation will contribute to an understanding of the optimism with which highly educated immigrants engage in education and/or career pathways in Canada, trying, on one hand, to make sense of the social context through a newcomer’s eyes; and on the other hand, to reveal to employers and colleagues that their foreign experiences are valuable resources that can equally contribute to the Canadian economy, culture and society. 1.2 Purpose of the study The following steps illustrate the manner through which I have come to state the problem raised in this dissertation. Step 1. Research and practice show that highly educated immigrants to Canada experience difficulties in the labour market and that many adult immigrants turn to post-secondary education as a strategy to support their integration in the labour force. We often hear that immigrants come to Canada for a better life. Everyone relies on particular strengths to succeed in the new home country. Some have economic capital (wealth) and others have social capital (networks). But most immigrants who have arrived since 1990s have relied on their human capital (education). These highly educated individuals become conscious of the potential value of their foreign human capital when they go through the immigration selection process that assesses years of schooling and credentials, culture (i.e., knowledge of two official languages) and years of work experience. After being scrutinized on criteria that emphasize human capital, educated immigrants begin to believe even more in the worth of their education, which is the key to a successful immigration application to Canada. After arrival, immigrants gradually discover that their foreign human capital is not likely to be recognized in the Canadian labour market: this translates into poor earnings and difficulty in finding desirable jobs. Current research documents that foreign human capital is becoming less valued in the Canadian labour market than it was decades ago (Aydemir & Skuterud, 2004), a situation that is often attributed to the changing characteristics of recent immigrants who come from non-Anglophone or non-Francophone countries. Picot (2004) argues that perhaps the quality of education in some countries is not comparable to Canada, recent immigrants  4 experience language barriers, or discrimination is more prevalent among immigrants who arrive from these non-traditional source countries such as those in Eastern Europe, Asia or Africa. However, Li (2003) also points to possible flaws in the immigrant selection policy, which imposes criteria that do not reflect the capacity of immigrants to integrate in the labour market and to catch up with the earnings of native-born Canadians. Anecdotal evidence indicates that most highly educated adult immigrants expect to continue careers in their prior occupations. Exposed to employers’ reluctance to recognize their foreign credentials and/or work experience, and beginning to understand the reality of the competitive Canadian labour market, newcomers come to interpret their lack of success in the labour market as being related to their non-Canadian credentials. Immigrants weigh their choices: some may accept jobs below their qualification and others seek recognition of foreign credentials. Other immigrants embrace a pragmatic strategy, and, rather than struggling to convince employers of the specificity and value of their foreign human capital, they decide to pursue further education in Canada. They also receive advice from within their immigrant community that obtaining a Canadian credential would add credibility to their prior education and possibly expand (and diversify) their range of employment opportunities. There is no doubt that adult immigrants who continue education after arrival are also aware of the characteristics of the Canadian post- secondary education (PSE) system (i.e., open to adult education, diverse, affordable). Depending on specific life course circumstances and availability of family and personal resources, adult immigrants may adopt combined work and learning strategies. There is clear evidence that large proportions of educated immigrants, regardless of age, decide to pursue Canadian education, seeing this as a good step toward minimizing differences between them and the native-born Canadians. This evidence struck me after examining results from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada that show that about two-thirds of new immigrants interviewed in 2000 had plans to take education or training at the time of arrival (Statistics Canada, 2005). This tells me that my own decision to obtain additional graduate education and similar situations that I know about from other immigrants are not isolated cases. The decision to obtain more education is not necessarily related to the need to overcome unemployment or the inability to earn a decent income. In many cases, these decisions are driven by feelings of frustration that professional growth has been interrupted or delayed in Canada, as opposed to  5 what highly educated immigrants would have expected, based on career accomplishments that they attained in their native countries. Many researchers assert that immigrant human capital is not wisely used in Canada. Bauder (2003) describes the situation of recent immigration to Canada as “brain abuse” that devaluates the institutionalized cultural capital of immigrants; Hiebert (2006, p.41) calls on the new discourse around “failure and wasted human capital”. However, in order to understand the causes that hinder the socio-economic integration of immigrants, it is realistic to situate the immigrant story in the context of the Canadian labour market: this is dominated by competition for jobs, credential inflation and structural inequalities affecting all knowledge workers. Step 2. Research and practice also show that Canadian-educated knowledge workers are affected by labour market structural inequalities and many university graduates remain engaged in education while transitioning to work. One can invest in human capital by acquiring education. Since typical knowledge workers have university education, it is assumed that such individuals made a significant investment in their human capital. It is not surprising that a major debate on human capital that engages economists, sociologists and educators concerns the return to university education (e.g., earnings). Differential earnings are an indicator that the Canadian labour market is structured in terms of how workers with similar qualifications are treated by employers. Research on this topic points to at least two factors for differential earnings obtained by university graduates: social structural factors and field of study (see, e.g., Finnie, 2001; Lin, Sweet, & Anisef, 2003). First, social structural factors account for existing inequities in the labour market that lead to gender wage gaps (Fortin & Huberman, 2002a) and the effect of race and ethnicity on earnings (Kunz, Milan, & Schetagne, 2000). Second, field of study differentiates human capital through the utility value in the labour market as perceived by employers (Brown, 2001; Lavoie & Roy, 1998). Moreover, some workers have poor return to education because they accumulate attributes that carry a negative value in the Canadian labour market. For instance, immigrant status brings an additional dimension to the social structuration of the labour market; it also intersects with other social factors such as gender, age or ethnicity to create specific social identity markers. As noted  6 by Frideres, “immigrants operate like signs carrying bundles of conflicting meanings” (2002, p.1). As a result, the social identity markers have an impact on immigrants’ self concept, determine their behaviours and influence their integration into society. Similarly, one can describe the labour market structuration through ‘identity’ markers defined by characteristics of human capital. For instance, research shows that those immigrants who acquired education in Canada perform better in the labour market than those educated outside Canada (Sweetman & McBride, 2004); graduates who completed applied education programs have better labour market outcomes compared to those who completed liberal arts education programs (Adamuti-Trache & Sweet, 2005; Lin, Sweet, & Anisef, 2003). These examples reveal a segmented labour market in which knowledge workers strive to optimize their investments in university education. While we often hear that today’s Canadian society is making the transition toward a knowledge economy that requires a highly skilled workforce, this does not translate into an abundance of jobs that reward university education. There is a clear discrepancy between supply and demand that leads to an apparently inefficient use of human capital in the labour market. As noted by Livingstone, “it is the relative withering of good jobs with decent pay that is the central problem creating the education-jobs gap” (1999, p.164). However, since well-paid workers have higher levels of education, there is an assumption that education “gives the learner the opportunity to acquire relevant and diverse knowledge, competencies, and skills for a complex social environment and labour market” (Council of Ministers of Education Canada, 1999, p.7). As a result, individuals believe that higher levels of education and a diverse portfolio of skills will help maintain their competitiveness. There is evidence that knowledge workers enter into this competition for ‘good’ jobs in Canada by considerably engaging in further education (Allen & Vaillancourt, 2004; Finnie, 2001; Peters, 2004). Step 3: Statement of the problem While obstacles embedded in the Canadian labour market determine a differential return to university education for highly educated immigrants and Canadian-educated workers, individuals differently mobilize their personal agency to take advantage of existing opportunities in the Canadian post-secondary system. In this dissertation I will examine (constraining) obstacles within the Canadian labour market  7 and (liberating/facilitating) opportunities within the Canadian post-secondary system experienced by university graduates in their journeys as knowledge workers in early 2000s. These are individuals who made large investments in education over their life course, who have been active in fields of practice that enriched their human capital and seemingly widened occupational and life choices, who likely have personal attributes (e.g., ability, determination, motivation) that give human agency increased capability to challenge the objective structures. The particular interest of my dissertation is on recent university-educated immigrants. However, I acknowledge that their entry points into the labour market need to be contextualized within a broader understanding of the economic and social conditions of today’s Canadian society, conditions that also impact on university graduates from Canadian institutions. Therefore, I use data on returns to education by the Canadian-educated graduates to portray the social space and the structure of the labour market in which highly educated newcomers are expected to compete. I maintain that, while constrained by social structural factors (e.g., gender, age, immigrant status, visible minority status) and institutional structures (e.g., labour market, education, marriage, parenthood), individual agents have some freedom to strategize their actions when seeking better returns on investments. This is an expression of human agency that describes the capacity of human subjects to engage in social action and to make life choices. I adopt the notion of bounded agency that conveys the idea of a socially situated agency that allows individual agents to consciously adjust to changing social contexts and thus to interact with the social structures throughout their life course. An important aspect in the decision-making process is the human agency’s capacity to understand the social context, to evaluate resources and to adopt strategies to convert and/or enhance assets in order to optimize desired outcomes. For instance, educated workers who understand the changing nature of the labour market remain active learners over their life course and continue to enrich their education and career pathways. By accumulating education, work experience and skills through their interactions with various structures (i.e., labour market or educational institutions), individuals expand and/or convert available resources. In this dissertation, I put forward the idea that the source of a bounded agency is habitus: that is, a system of durable dispositions and implicit knowledge shaped by one’s history, present circumstances and future goals. The capacity of a bounded agency to adjust to the social context  8 is related to habitus because “the practices produced by the habitus [are] the strategy-generating principle enabling agents to cope with unforeseen and ever-changing situations” (Bourdieu, 1977, p.72). Therefore, the notion of habitus as a generative structure of practical action is essential to understanding the manifestation of bounded agency during life events such as migration to a new country. Immigration is a significant turning point that affects all dimensions of one’s life: it engages an immigrant’s human capacity in an attempt to negotiate pre-migration capital investments with new institutional structures that do not necessarily recognize these assets. As a strategy, highly educated immigrants who understand the reality of the Canadian labour market may choose to acquire credentials in the host country.  1.3 Background to the problem This section contains facts, figures and policies that constitute the background issues related to immigration, the Canadian post-secondary system and labour market. Except some historical trends, I selected information based on 2001 Census data that portray the Canadian context in the period that is relevant to my study: 1997-2005. I will first introduce recent trends on immigration to Canada, which point to the effect of selection policies that emphasize the importance of human capital. Second, I will discuss some patterns in higher education and in the choice of field of study with focus on gender differences. Third, I will present evidence on earning gaps and participation in the labour market by gender, age, immigrant status and visible minority groups. 1.3.1 Immigrants to Canada Since early 1990s, 200-250,000 immigrants have arrived in Canada every year. Demographic growth and labour force supply are the most important reasons for the active Canadian immigration policy. By 2016, 16% of Canada’s population will be over age 65; by 2030, immigration will account for 100% of Canadian population growth (Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability, 2003; Statistics Canada, 2006a). If immigration accounted for 70% of net labour force growth in the first half of the 1990s, by 2011, it is expected to account for all net labour force growth (Human Resources and Social Development Canada, 2002). Immigrants are accepted to Canada under three main categories. The economic class that includes skilled workers, business immigrants and provincial nominees covers up to 60% of all  9 new arrivals (Library of Parliament, 2004). These capital-rich immigrants are expected to bring to Canada flexible and transferable skill sets (human capital) as well as investments (economic capital). The immigration program also has a social component to facilitate family reunification (25%) and a humanitarian component to offer protection to refugees (15%). Fifty-five percent of the immigrants interviewed for the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) who arrived in 2000-2001, had a university education; this proportion was 69% among those aged 25 to 44, compared to 22% of all Canadians in same age group (Statistics Canada, 2003a). Over the last decades, one important characteristics of the immigrant population is the change in source country, with an increasing number of newcomers coming from non-Anglophone regions of the world (Figure 1.1).1 As a result, about 43% of Canada’s population in 2006 had an origin other than Aboriginal, British or French. Figure 1.1: Origin of immigrants to Canada 1956-1997 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 1956 1961 1966 1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 Year To ta l i m m ig ra nt s USA Europe Central America S America Asia Africa Other  Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada data (The Sustainability Report /  Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability, IRIS, 2003)  Fluency in one of Canada’s official languages, prior linkages to Canada, and especially level of education are identified as key determinants in the successful integration of recent immigrants (Human Resources and Social Development Canada, 2002). Using 2006 Census information, Mata (2008) also illustrates that there is significant variability in labour market activity levels (e.g., employment rates) by the place (country) of post-secondary education completion. For  10 instance, his data show that regardless of the period of arrival, those who completed PSE in Germany, France, the United States and the United Kingdom had higher activity levels compared to immigrants from Pakistan, China and South Korea. Those who possess non-Western education are somewhat disadvantaged in the Canadian labour market. Because in recent years the economic immigrants have not been as successfully integrated in the labour market as was hoped, the human capital approach that governs the immigration policy has been questioned (Tolley, 2003). Many claim that the immigrant settlement will continue to be compromised until recognition of foreign credentials and training are solved and employers become more willing to hire new immigrants (Bauder, 2003; Li, 2008). For instance, Li estimated that only 59% of China-born university-educated immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1991 and 2000 were in the labour market in 2001. Moreover, 21% to 33 % of those employed experienced a devaluation of the worth of their higher education. Recent LSIC data show that two years after arrival, only 63% of immigrants aged 25 to 44 (prime working age) were employed compared to 81% of the native-born Canadians (Statistics Canada, 2003b). Less than half of those employed found jobs in their intended occupation – the one for which they were accepted under the Federal Skilled Worker (Professional) Immigration class. To provide for their families, many educated adult immigrants are forced to join labour market segments that are not compatible with their level of education. Daily news describing PhD graduates driving a taxi or working at McDonald’s reflect a reality that makes an illogic contrast to forecasts of shortages of qualified people in knowledge occupations. Earnings are in particular unexpectedly poor for those who arrived since the 1990s (Frenette & Morissette, 2003; Morissette, Ostrovsky, & Picot, 2004; Worswick, 2004). In 2004, four years after their arrival in Canada, 22% of economic immigrants interviewed for LSIC were disappointed with the lack of employment opportunities (Schellenberg & Maheux, 2007). This situation clearly suggests that in the competition for jobs, immigrants have difficulty in negotiating their foreign credentials. Canadian employers show reservation in hiring immigrants due to lack of institutionalized means to assess their skills (Reitz, 2005) or simply inability to evaluate a résumé with little or no Canadian work experience. As a result, highly educated immigrants cannot practice in their field(s) of expertise, and become even less competitive over  11 time: this makes it impossible to overcome the so-called “transferability gap” that is expected to occur at migration (Hawthorne, 2007). As noted by Li (2008), significant waste occurs when transferring immigrant human capital. It is, therefore, not sufficient to design a selection policy to screen human capital: there is need to strengthen “integration policies so that immigrants with credentials can be properly incorporated into the economy of Canada” (p.239). The logic of the human capital argument is also on the minds of educated immigrants who interpret the Canadian immigration policy as a guarantee that their talents are needed, will be recognized and will be adequately rewarded. Hiebert (2006) contends that expectations are not fulfilled because “immigrants bring capital and skills into the country but do not compete on an even footing for desirable jobs” (p.46). It is not surprising that many immigrants decide to continue formal education in order to avoid the downgrading of their occupational status. Since about two-thirds of newcomers interviewed for LSIC had such plans at arrival (Statistics Canada, 2005), it is possible that immigrants attach certain symbolic value to obtaining a Canadian credential. 1.3.2 Canada’s knowledge workers To better understand the diminishing relevance of immigrants’ non-Canadian education in the labour market, it is not sufficient to look only at the characteristics of recent immigrants (e.g., level of education, source country); one has to analyze the post-secondary trends, specifically the gains in the educational attainment of the Canadian population.2 Since the 1970s, there has been a dramatic expansion of the Canadian post-secondary system and an increase in the importance given by employers to post-secondary education (PSE). As a result, recent immigrants “encounter a much different degree of labour market competition not because of deficiencies in their human capital, but in step with the improvement in the human capital of Canadian-born workers” (Hiebert, 2006, p.42). For instance, Reitz (2001a) contrasts the 1981 and 1996 Census data showing that 12% and 17% of Canadian-born men, compared to 20% and 29% of immigrant men who arrived within 5 years of each census date, had university education. The corresponding percentages were 10% and 18% for Canadian-born women and 14% and 26% for immigrant women. Although immigrants who arrived in the 1990s were more educated than  12 in the past, and though they continue to be more educated than their Canadian-born counterparts, the increasing number of Canadians with higher education intensifies the competition for jobs. The number of university graduates in Canada grew by more than one million between the early 1990s and 2001, which led to 23% of the population aged 25 to 64 having completed university studies (Statistics Canada, 2003c). Also, over 1 million people aged 25 to 64, which represents 7% of the working age population, had qualifications above the bachelor level in 2001. In addition, about 21% of the Canadian working-age population obtained college credentials. When college and university education were combined, Canada ranked first in the world. The skill profile of qualified Canadians reflects a response to the technological and business demands of the 1990s. Other than education, which was the most popular field of study in 2001 (14% of all university graduates 25 years and over), degrees in engineering (9%), business and commerce (8%) and financial management (6%) were prevalent. The same tendency was visible among male immigrants – “one out of every three men who immigrated in the 1990s with post- secondary credentials had trained in a technology-related field of study such as engineering or computer science and applied mathematics at the university level, or electronic technologies at the college or trade level” (Statistics Canada, 2003c, p.15). This shows a clear trend toward both the training in Canada and the recruitment through immigration of individuals who possess technical and business skills that are in great demand in today’s knowledge-based economy. In 2001, almost half of all university graduates aged 25 and over were women. They made up 52% of all those with a bachelor’s or first professional degree, but they represented just 44% of those with a master’s degree and 27% of those with an earned doctorate (Statistics Canada, 2006b). Age plays a significant role in differentiating educational attainment of women and men. Among those 45 to 64, women (15%) were less likely than men (19%) to have university education. These proportions were totally reversed for younger women – those aged 25 to 44 showing slightly higher rates of university completion (23%) than men (21%). Among those aged 20 to 24 in 2001, 14% of women, compared with 8% of men were university graduates. Foreign-born women were better educated than their native-born counterparts – in 2001, 18% of all foreign-born females aged 15 and over have completed university education, as compared to 14% of their native-born counterparts. However, since the majority of female immigrants come  13 to Canada as spouses and dependants, or as family class immigrants, and only about one in ten arrive as skilled worker principal applicants, they have less education compared to male immigrants of whom 24% possessed university degrees in 2001. Although participation by women in higher education has increased dramatically since the 1980s, analysis of Statistics Canada data in the late 1980s revealed that their participation was concentrated in the female-traditional fields of social work, nursing and household science (Breslauer & Gordon, 1989). Through analysis of Statistics Canada data from 1972 to 1995, Gadalla (2001) demonstrated that little progress has been made to substantially increase enrolments by women in undergraduate and graduate mathematics, engineering and computer science programs. The greatest increase was observed in engineering but has occurred only at the undergraduate level. For instance, as of 1995, the likelihood of women studying engineering decreased from one fifth at the undergraduate level to only one tenth at the doctoral level. The increased participation in engineering by women, which is usually seen as a spectacular success, did not change much the gender balance: the field remains male-dominated (Andres & Adamuti- Trache, 2007). Completion rates show similar patterns, women being largely represented in social sciences, education and humanities (Figure 1.2a and 1.2b from Andres & Adamuti-Trache, 2006).          Figure 1.2a: Bachelor and first professional degrees, 1987-2002 (Females) 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 87- 88  88- 89  89- 90  90- 91  91- 92  92- 93  93- 94  94- 95  95- 96  96- 97  97- 98  98- 99  99- 00 00- 01  01 -02 Agric&BioSc Education Eng&AppSc FineArts Health Humanties MathPhysSc SocScience    14            Figure 1.2b: Bachelor and first professional degrees, 1987-2002 (Males) 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 87- 88  88- 89  89- 90  90- 91  91- 92  92- 93  93- 94  94- 95  95- 96  96- 97  97- 98  98- 99  99- 00 00- 01  01 -02 Agric&BioSc Education Eng&AppSc FineArts Health Humanties MathPhysSc SocScience  Source: Statistics Canada - University degrees (undergraduate level) awarded in Canada by Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) and sex (1979-1999, Education in Canada reports; 1999-2003, Special tabulation, unpublished data).  One desirable impact of immigration is to improve the gender composition of fields of study in Canadian universities and consequently the composition of male-traditional occupations by recruiting female immigrants with expertise in these fields. This seems to be possible because about 17% of recent female immigrants had post-secondary degrees in business, commerce or financial management and another 9% studied computer science and applied mathematics or engineering (Statistics Canada, 2003c). However, considering that both immigrant status and gender are factors that link to economic disadvantage in the labour market (e.g., occupational mismatch, underemployment), it is unlikely that this anticipated improvement in the gender representations in these occupations would take effect. Definitely, the trend over the past decades has been an improved access to PSE for all Canadians due to the expansion of the PSE system, the openness of PSE institutions to accept a diverse student population and their willingness to accommodate non-traditional learners who combine education and work (Canadian Council on Learning, 2006). Better access to PSE has created an opportunity to close some educational attainment gaps. However, data presented in the following section indicate that gender, age, immigrant and visible minority status remain social structural factors that differentiate the labour market outcomes of equally qualified individuals.  15 1.3.3 Canadian labour market As an effect of globalization and the changing nature of work, all workers are confronted with a labour market in which jobs are less secure, career paths often need to be reshaped, boundaries between occupations are less defined and skills need to be continuously upgraded (Beck, 1992; Brown, 1999, 2001; Finnie, 2001; Rubenson & Schuetze, 2000; Shanahan, 2000; Walters, 2004). On one hand, it is a positive effect that free market competition creates incentives for the continual upgrading of workers’ skills. On the other hand, as Cruikshank points out, “the polarization of work into ‘good jobs’ and ‘bad jobs’ is transforming our society” (2001, p.64) by deepening economic and social inequalities. Others bring a ‘queuing’ perspective that suggests that labour markets consist of ‘labour queues’ (i.e., all possible workers in a queue to fill a particular job) and ‘job queues’ (i.e., all possible jobs available to a worker). Both employers and workers rank the queues, so the most wanted jobs go to the most wanted workers, and vice versa (Reskin, 2001). Job segregation is manifested when labour queues become socially structured by groups in conflict (e.g., men vs. women, youth vs. elders, Canadian-born vs. immigrants). For instance, immigrants are in a disadvantaged position in the labour market when employers do not recognize their foreign human capital and place them at the bottom of the job queues. Queuing might be contextual, depending on local and global economic situations that may give most workers a hard time to find adequate jobs. However, trends show that some groups of workers are systematically placed at the bottom of the job queues – a sign of persistent social inequities. Even for workers with similar qualifications, differences in securing ‘good jobs’ are noticeable. Among university graduates, human capital factors (e.g., field of study) and various social structural factors (e.g., gender, age, immigrant status, ethnicity) lead to differential outcomes that correspond to different positions in the labour queue. In this section, I present empirical evidence that gender, field of study, age, immigrant status and visible minority affect the labour market outcomes of university graduates.    Gender issues. Bourdieu (1988) draws attention to the structure of power that is reproduced within the higher education field and extended into society. Similarly, Davies and Guppy state that higher education disciplines “are unequal with respect to power, prestige, and economic payoffs” (1997, p.1419). One can expect that gender differences in higher education have an  16 impact on how men and women are represented in the associated occupations that subsequently has an effect on their earning potential (Adamuti-Trache, 2006; Andres & Adamuti-Trache, 2007). Further structuring of the labour market means that some fields of study, many in which women are under-represented, offer better employment opportunities, enhanced job stability and higher earnings to graduates (Allen, Harris, & Butlin, 2003; Finnie, 2001). A major issue discussed in the literature is that the Canadian labour market is marked by gender- based occupational segregation and gender wage differentials that are structurally and politically generated (Charles & Grusky, 2004; Fortin & Huberman, 2002b; Shannon & Kidd, 2001). Occupational segregation by gender is perceived as a negative feature of the labour market because it obstructs the contribution of a diverse population to growing knowledge in various fields of practice. The suggestive image of “occupational ghettos” proposed by Charles and Grusky (2004) to describe the American labour market discloses the logics behind the two dimensions of the segregation regime: vertical and horizontal segregation. The idea of vertical segregation is based on the logic of “male primacy,” which places women into subordinate occupations within both the manual and non-manual sectors. Horizontal segregation is maintained through a logic of “gender essentialism” that presumes that women excel in person- oriented occupations while men succeed in more technical occupations. Both aspects of gender segregation contribute to maintain the gender wage gap and to keep women in less prestigious positions, while the horizontal segregation has the persistent effect of polarizing the two sexes based on an occupational stereotyping premise. Similar conclusions are drawn by Fortin and Huberman (2002b), who found that in Canada, since the 1990s, “segregation along vertical lines has narrowed and improved steadily, in large part following increases in women’s educational attainment” (p.S34). They also acknowledge that substantial increase in women’s participation in non-traditional professional occupations has improved the gender wage gap. However, Figure 1.3 shows that the proportion of women in professional occupations has been practically unchanged in the past fifteen years (1991-2006). The data for 2006 show women’s overrepresentation in health (78%), social science and government occupations (70%) and teaching (64%). Women are underrepresented in senior management occupations (29%) and natural and applied sciences (21%) that usually receive better remuneration. Gender parity is  17 achieved in arts and culture, and professional business and finances occupations (53% and 51%, respectively).       Figure 1.3: Proportion of women in professional occupations 0 25 50 75 100 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Natural&ApplSciences Art&Culture&Recr&Sport SocialSc&GovOcc Prof Business&Finance&Adm Professional HealthOcc SeniorManagOcc Teachers&Professors    Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (CANSIM tables 282-0009)  In a gender wage gap projection exercise, Shannon and Kidd (2001) predicted that a gender gap would still exist in Canada by 2031. Various scenarios consider the growing educational attainment by women in the nineties, changes in wage structure, increase in work experience and demographic projections of age-sex structure. However, under the assumption that wage structure remains unchanged, there is no scenario to predict the elimination of gender wage gaps. This suggests that an increase in women’s education is not sufficient to eliminate gender inequity, which is resistant in specific occupational areas. For instance, Figure 1.4 shows the gender wage gap values for the active labour force, aged 25 to 54, in professional occupations between 1997 and 2005. Occupations like business, finance and administration as well as senior management occupations retain, on average, quite significant gender wage gaps (.81 and .78, respectively). The gender wage gap is also large in social sciences and government occupations (average .81). Closer to gender parity are the natural and applied sciences occupations (average .88), followed by teaching occupations (average .91), and arts, culture, recreation and sports (average .92). The averaged values show that only professional health occupations have reached and slightly surpassed the wage parity (average 1.01).  18                        Figure 1.4: Gender wage gap in professional occupations 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Natural&ApplSciences Art&Culture&Recr&Sport SocialSc&GovOcc Prof Business&Finance&Adm Professional HealthOcc SeniorManagOcc Teachers&Professors      Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (CANSIM tables 282-0070)  Gender wage inequity occurs as soon as individuals enter the labour market. In 2000, the five best paid occupations (between $50-60,000 per year working full-time, full year) held by young men (aged 25 to 29) with university degrees were electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, computer and information systems, sales marketing and advertising managers, financial and investment analysts (Statistics Canada, 2003d, p.32). In these occupations, women made between 82-90% of males’ income, except mechanical engineering where the gap was closing (98.7%). The best five incomes of the occupations held by women were at a much lower level ($35- 46,000 per year). Only in three of these occupations (i.e., sales marketing and advertising managers, computer and information systems, registered nurses) women made over $40,000 per year.    Age issues. The aging workforce contributes to the changing profile of the labour force. With baby-boomers closer to retirement, there are relatively small young cohorts to replace them and some sectors like health, education and trades may experience shortages (Statistics Canada, 2003e). Also, Census data show that older age groups have made the most significant gains in earnings, especially for those with higher education. Table 1.1, based on Census data (Statistics Canada, 2003d, p.33), shows that the earnings of university graduates fell for almost all age and gender groups between 1980 and 1990, but rose differentially between 1990 and 2000. Over the last two decades, women gained overall advantages, although they did not attain wage parity with men. People younger than 30 experienced an overall earning decline for both men and  19 women. In the second decade, the highest peaks for men happened at about age 40, while those for women happened at about age 50. These results show that, periods of economic stagnation and recession have different impacts on workers, and that earning differentials, at the same level of qualification, are still determined by age and gender. Table 1.1: Percentage change in average earnings (holders of university degrees, working full-time full-year) Age groups Men, 1980-1990 Men, 1990-2000 Women, 1980-1990 Women, 1990-2000 25 to 29 years -5.7 5.5 -2.4 -.6 30 to 34 year -2.6 4.0 -1.7 1.0 35 to 39 years -4.1 6.8 1.5 4.3 40 to 44 years -5.1 9.2 2.7 5.8 45 to 49 years -4.4 3.0 2.1 7.3 50 to 54 year -3.0 -0.4 -1.8 6.3 55 to 59 years 1.3 3.0 -3.4 7.3   Source: Statistics Canada (Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE2001013), Earnings of Canadians Kapsalis, Morisette, and Picot (1999) also found a decline in relative earnings among younger and older workers between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, as well as an increasing wage gap by age. They associated the earning gaps with the increased level of education of older workers that makes the relative education premium previously enjoyed by younger workers to disappear. A second explanation relies on a self-selection effect of younger individuals who choose to pursue advanced university studies (which put younger workers as a group at a disadvantage in the earning structures). Others associate the better outcomes obtained by mature university graduates with a more pragmatic perspective on education, one that is better harmonized with individuals’ work experience during and after completion of studies (Maslove, Fischer, & O’Heron, 1998).    Immigrant status issues. Starting in the early 1980s, the employment rates and earnings have deteriorated significantly for immigrants, due in part to changes in source country composition that may have led to problems of credential recognition and lack of fluency in one of the two official languages of Canada. “Recent immigrants earn substantially less than their Canadian- born counterparts even after 10 years in the country. This is true for both those immigrants with low levels of education, as well as those with a university degree” (Statistics Canada, 2003d, p.5). The economic downfalls experienced by some Canadian workers are amplified for  20 immigrants. “The difficulties facing recent immigrants from 1991 to 1996 were similar to those experienced by youths. Both groups were new entrants to a difficult labour market” (Statistics Canada, 2003e, p.12). Table 1.2, based on Census data (Statistics Canada, 2003d, p.36) shows that after 10 years in Canada, university-educated immigrants gradually increase their income by about 50%. However, by that time, immigrants who arrived in Canada from 1990 to 1999 earn only 71% (male) and 79% (female) of their Canadian counterparts’ earnings. It is interesting to remark that a gender wage gap is also visible among immigrants: earnings of female immigrants are at about two-thirds of the earnings obtained by their male counterparts. Table 1.2: Average earnings ($) of recent immigrants a (holders of university degrees, aged 25 to 54) by   number of years in Canada Years in Canada Men, 1990 Men, 2000 Women, 1990 Women, 2000 1 year 33,673 31,460 21,059 19,829 2 years 37,895 37,397 24,356 23,066 3 years 42,010 40,011 27,808 24,731 4 years 42,116 42,627 27,681 26,348 5 years 45,873 44,054 27,724 28,739 6 years 48,443 45,773 28,741 29,616 7 years 50,385 45,795 28,905 28,387 8 years 54,439 44,361 32,193 30,193 9 years 54,426 46,151 32,015 30,948 10 years 52,060 47,522 32,522 32,473 Average earnings Canadian-born 60,375 66,520 37,235 41,062   Source: Statistics Canada (Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE2001013), Earnings of Canadians      a Immigrants who arrived in Canada from 1980 to 1989 and from 1990 to 1999.  Highly educated Canadian-born workers enjoy better employment and incomes, while the immigrant educational advantage is not always translated to better labour market outcomes (Hiebert, 2003). Although immigrants who arrived in the 1990s were more educated than native- born Canadians and had expertise in occupations which are generally well remunerated in Canada, they either did not work in their fields of expertise or they had lower-paid positions. For instance, many immigrants who arrived to Canada in early 2000s had science and technology degrees, but did not work in the field of natural and applied sciences. LSIC data show that 39% of the male immigrants worked, before arrival, in natural and applied occupations and only 19% found jobs in the same occupational group 6 months after arrival in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2003a). Skill under-utilization (Reitz, 2001b) and overqualification (Li, Gervais, & Duval, 2006)  21 are common characteristics of highly educated immigrants’ employment. Overall, statistics show that the Canadian labour market is marked by occupational differences and earning gaps, and that immigrant status is an additional factor that augments social inequity.    Visible minority issues. Data from the 2006 Census show that between 2001 and 2006, the growth rate for the visible minority population was 27.2%, five times higher than the 5.4% increase for the total population (Statistics Canada, 2008). Meanwhile, employment rate and average income remain low for most ethnic groups. This is, in part, a result of the barriers to economic integration experienced by all newcomers, although some argue that the negative returns are a result of discrimination in the labour market (Pendakur &  Pendakur, 1996). Table 1.3, compiled from Statistics Canada tabulations (2006c), shows the number of Canadians who held a university certificate or degree in the year preceding the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, as well as their average incomes. Data are presented by visible minority status and separately for the first five largest visible minority groups. Data show that average incomes are clearly lower for all visible minority groups, although there is some variation among ethnic groups. Except for Filipinos, there is a noticeable income decrease over time for all visible minority groups. The most pronounced decrease in income is noticeable for the South Asian and Arab ethnic groups. Not in the list are Koreans, with the lowest average income of $27,440. Table 1.3: Total number and average income in 2005 $ (holders of university certificates or degrees) 2000 2005 Visible minority status Total Average income ($) Total Average income ($) Total population 3,629,990 57,110 4,587,930 58,770 Not visible minority 2,945,490 60,910 3,526,180 64,500 Visible minority  684,500 40,750 1,061,750 39,740                  Chinese 217,910 41,940 324,480 41,790                  South Asia 167,830 42,330 275,050 40,820                  Filipino 70,900 34,850 103,600 35,240                  Black  58,040 41,500 85,470 41,380                  Arab a 39,610 38,390 65,960 36,870 Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada Cat no. 97-563-XCB2006007.   a Only data for the first 5 largest visible minority groups are shown in the table.   22 Moreover, within each ethnic subpopulation, other income discrepancies are noticeable in the Statistics Canada tabulations. For instance, Korean women holders of university credentials had an average income of $21,330 in 2005. This confirms the idea developed by Frideres (2002) that the intersection between various dimensions of identity affects immigrants’ experiences in the host country. When immigrants enter Canada, they have to confront the social markers already established in the host society and find their ways within a new social landscape. For instance, being a young, white, male from an English- or French-speaking country has a positive value and salience in society compared to being an older female of visible minority and having a different language heritage. This suggests that although some obstacles are anticipated during newcomers’ settlement, some immigrants may encounter more difficulties than others. 1.3.4 Background summary It is clear that recent immigration trends are quite different than decades ago, so different factors may affect the integration of a culturally diverse immigrant population that includes many highly educated workers. Based on the empirical evidence (i.e., statistics and research on social structures) presented in this section, it should not be surprising that the economic integration of recent immigrants is challenging. First, there is tough competition for good jobs due to the increase in the educational attainment of Canadians. Also, the Canadian post-secondary institutions have intensified their efforts to prepare male and female graduates in fields that were expected to experience shortage such as health, education, science and engineering. Second, there is clear segmentation of the Canadian labour market, related to level of education, field of study, gender, age and visible minority status. Immigrant status appears to add to existing social structural inequities inherent in the Canadian labour market, thereby making it more difficult for immigrants to compete for good jobs. For instance, data show that even after 10 years in Canada, university-educated immigrants continue to experience poor outcomes, which suggests the presence of systemic inequity. However, I would argue that the immigrant identity is singular compared to other social factors such as gender or age that are socially constructed, because immigrant identity may actually carry some fundamental differences. Immigrants may have lived in completely different economic, cultural, social and political environments, and most of them enter the Canadian  23 society with little or no knowledge of its rules. Therefore, understanding immigrants’ economic integration in the labour market requires more than comparing of outcomes such as earnings and occupational performance with their Canadian-born counterparts. Research should more thoroughly examine the ways in which recent educated-immigrants engage in the competition for jobs in Canada and the nature of differences that lead to the disadvantages faced by immigrants in the labour market. It is important to understand which difficulties are associated with the negotiation of foreign human capital. This process is certainly difficult because most employers do not have the expertise to weigh foreign credentials and work experience, have little knowledge of the organization of other labour markets, or simply do not believe that immigrants will fit in their workplace culture. The formal recognition of credentials by Canadian professional organizations and licensing bodies is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to convince employers to hire highly educated immigrants. It is undeniable that most recent immigrants have to overcome language, cultural and social barriers when entering new workplaces and communities in Canada. For some immigrants, structural barriers lead to marginalization. For others, the high level of personal agency that was manifested when they made a crucial decision like immigration for themselves and for their families could be again activated to overcome obstacles to integration. To give an example, I use an account on Irish migration to the United States in the 1980s by the professional élite emigrants – a group that was less forced to migrate due to economic constraints and was under no duress to leave or to stay in Ireland (Corcoran, 2003). The author identifies some characteristics of the process of migration: the decision to migrate tends to be more reflexive, immigrants prefer to make their way in the host society as individuals without advertising their ethnic origin, they manifest flexible subjectivities at work and leisure, and they enjoy a high degree of personal agency in terms of life plans and career choices. Corcoran believes that members of the professional élite “embody many of the attributes associated with modern individualization. Rich in cultural capital and attuned to information and communication structures, they apply themselves assiduously to the task of self-fulfillment. For many, this results in a reflexive reinvention of the self” (p.314). The example above suggests that one can expect high levels of personal agency among the highly educated immigrants to Canada. The nature of agency among recent immigrants is  24 different that among native-born Canadians because immigrant agency encounters the additional task of understanding a new social, political and cultural context – a context which is perceived through the eyes of a newcomer and always in relation to prior experiences. During this process, immigrant agency gradually adjusts to the social context of the host country and learns to take advantage of existing opportunity structures. 1.4   Theoretical framework The empirical evidence illustrates the state of exclusion and/or limited labour market success for some groups of university graduates, including recent immigrants. The prediction of human capital theory that educational attainment is an indicator of labour market outcomes is clearly problematic, especially for newcomers to Canada. To understand the connection between post- secondary education (PSE) and the labour market (LM), and processes that hinder or favour a successful PSE-LM transition, I will review several perspectives proposed in the literature. These issues are discussed in the literature, particularly within human capital theory. Critical perspectives on the economics of education show the limitations of the human capital concept: other labour market theories derived from human capital are proposed in the literature. In this section I will first present a critical review of human capital and main labour market theories that employ the notion of human capital, and I will discuss their limitations in understanding the immigrant human capital. Next, I will propose an alternative perspective that emphasizes the role of human agency within a life course framework. I argue that a broad sociological approach may better capture the complexity of human capital transformation during life course events such as immigration, and account for a dynamic relationship between structure and agency. A crucial aspect of any life course transition is the agent’s exposure to changing economic and social situations that require a responsive agency. Bourdieu’s sociological theory of capital, field, practice and habitus, as well as other approaches to the integration of personal agency in life course theories will be presented. In particular, the notions of practice and habitus serve to inform on specific processes through which agents’ actions transform their human capital.  25 This alternative conceptual framework has the scope to interpret how highly educated immigrants engage with the Canadian labour market, post-secondary system and other social structures during their settlement. However, I believe that the transition from education to work by (young) Canadian-educated university graduates who may engage for the first time in the competition for skilled jobs presents some parallels to the transitions experienced by recent immigrants. In general, the changing nature of work in knowledge economies places an increasing pressure on all knowledge workers to remain alert to societal changes and to strategize their social actions. 1.4.1 Human capital Capital is the most fundamental concept in classical economic theory. It was originally related to financial wealth, which is traditionally reproduced through the capitalist mode of production. The accumulation of capital is the result of investments that generate more capital. Economists have also used the notion of capital in a broader sense that includes human capital, which is generated through investment in one’s education and training. Therefore, human capital is a form of capital intrinsic to the person, an asset that individuals use to gain employment and earnings. A recent OECD document emphasized that human capital includes “knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals that are relevant to economic activity” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1998, p.9) which points to the link between this concept and the labour market. This form of capital and the economics of education are central to understanding the economic development of knowledge-based societies. I will summarize main aspects of human capital theory (HCT), critical perspectives of its assumptions, and relevant labour market theories that offer alternative views of how workers engage in economic activities.    Human capital theory. Schultz (1961) introduced the term human capital from an economic perspective by observing the much faster rates at which this form of capital was produced in Western societies by comparison to conventional (nonhuman) capital. He recognized that skills and knowledge have become a form of capital yielding a return over a long period. Both society and individuals contribute to this “deliberate investment” in human capital, making any unwise use or deterioration of human capital a significant loss. However, human capital defined in terms  26 of skills, qualifications or length of schooling is essentially an individual asset that, according to Schultz, would create personal advantage in the labour market and increase worker’s earnings. In 1964, Becker (see, e.g., 1993) reinforces the link between HCT and the classical theory of capital by comparing human capital to “physical means of production": one can invest in human capital (via education, training, medical care) and his/her income should reflect the rate of return on human capital owned. He views human capital as a stock of assets, which allows the owner to receive a flow of income, like interest earned. Forty years later, Putnam (2000) also recognizes human capital (i.e., skills, abilities, knowledge) as an individual property. Return to education is central to the human capital theory but equally important is the relevance of education to economic productivity. Mincer (1989) attached significant value to job training that involves firms’ investments in human capital to respond to technological change and to increase productivity, and found significant positive effects of job training on wages. This might concur with Livingstone’s view (1997) that economic reforms that involve workplaces are required to keep viable the human capital prediction that more education leads to higher earnings, and that education is relevant to productivity. The notion of human capital is enriched by Lin’s perspective (2001) that human capital theory is in fact a deviation from the classical theory of capital because the social relations governing the markets are fundamentally different. While the classical theory of capital is based on the assumption that laborers are replaceable commodities, in fact, ‘laborers’ become ‘capitalists’ who are able to acquire human capital by investing in education. He calls human capital theory a ‘neo-capital’ theory because of the different role of social relations in the market. As a result, due to the dual role of the individual, Lin expects a fit between human capital supply and demand in the market, because “it is the laborer, instead of the manager or capitalist, who is rewarded for or deprived of the price and value of labor power. If labor’s value is low, for example, this is due to a lack in human capital rather than the expropriation of surplus value or capital by the capitalist” (p.13). This approach places responsibility but also blame on workers who do not find ways to enhance their human capital. However, Lin recognizes the importance of social structure to differentiate access to resources, and the role of social capital to enhance the individual’s status and, through this, economic earnings.  27    Critical perspectives on HCT. Most critical views challenge the assumptions of human capital theory that portray a perfect labour market, in which education, training and skills can be measured in a straightforward way, and in which increased human capital leads to higher earnings. A major challenge is that the operationalization of human capital is not simple: first, because “educational attainment is not synonymous with acquired competence” and second, because “earnings at best constitute only a poor proxy measure of productivity” (Tuijnman, 2000, p.408). Measuring human capital in terms of productivity and observed output of work is challenging. As a result, frequent operationalization of human capital by economists continue to be years of schooling, credentials or work experience indicators (Ferrer & Riddell, 2002; Mincer, 1974; Morissette, Ostrovsky, & Picot, 2004). Many recommend that more direct measurement of competencies should complement the information based on credentials acquired or number of years of schooling. For instance, Green and Riddell (2001) have a broader view on the relationship between education, experience and labour market outcomes such as employment and earnings, and argue that not only educational attainment but also literacy skills exert a substantial causal effect on earnings. Other critics of the human capital theory challenge the main assumption that education can be related linearly to earnings, and point to inconsistencies on how ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ operate in the labour market. In this context, the central idea of demand is that industrial and technological developments require more highly skilled workers and lessen the need for workers with only basic skills. Supply factors in this context correspond to the increase in the number of workers due, for instance, to immigration or to the rise of the number of women in the labour market. Human capital theory is based on the assumption that there is some harmony between these two components and that workers and employers engage in a demand-supply negotiation of wages that maintains a linear relationship between educational attainment and earnings – when, in reality, the relationship is more complex. Brown (2001) is skeptical about the validity of a ‘demand side’ of the human capital theory (which is based on a linear model of technological progression from low to high skilled work following the sequence: “technological change Æ education and training Æ high skills Æ high wages”) and the American slogan “the more you learn the more you earn”. He noted that although it is true that earnings reflect education, the differential increase in income that would support the human capital theory is mainly due to the decline in the earning power of those with less education rather than higher rewards for workers’  28 educational attainment. The assumption that investment in human capital will create its own demand because employers will upgrade their skills base to absorb the qualified labour force is inadequate, “as it ignores the complexities of the empirical world in which many factors, including existing management practices, attitudes to women, or industrial relations, shape the skill content of particular jobs” (p.17). Kivinen and Ahola (1999) contend that the human capital theory correctly predicts the association between education and earnings, but incorrectly interprets employment as matchmaking between demand and supply. They affirm that human capital theory cannot explain “how individuals with specific educational backgrounds actually end up in different occupations” (p.194). An attempt to develop more realistic variations on human capital theory has led to credential- screening theories that emphasize the mechanisms through which educational credentials are recognized in imperfect markets. Bills (2003) examines theories that address the issue of employability by recognizing that employers use screening mechanisms to overcome imperfect information about the qualities of individuals, while job seekers use the signaling capacity of their qualifications, abilities and length of schooling to convince employers to hire them. Thus people do not pursue education to become more productive, but to obtain credentials that signal that they are competitive for some jobs. Weiss (1995) views these credential-screening models as an extension of human capital theory and uses the term sorting to explain how (uninformed) employers and (informed) job seekers make their moves in trying to maximize profit. While human capital theory emphasizes ‘learning’, measured as time spent in school or on job-training, as the correlate to wages, Weiss argue that ‘schooling’ as an anticipated measure of productivity is part of the hiring process. In a credential society, workers’ knowledge, skills and abilities are standardized to offer employers a set of norms to allow some assessment of workers. Credentialism offers a quite realistic model of the relationship between education and work by recognizing that educational credentials are instrumental toward facilitating access to privileged positions and higher incomes (Bills, 2004). Two effects of educational credentialism are recognized in the job market. The first is the ‘sheepskin effect’, also known as credential effect, so-called because the nonlinear effect of education on earnings is evocative of the relevance of a completed degree that will boost an employee’s earnings much more than increasing the number of years of schooling (Ferrer & Riddell, 2002). A completed credential has a signaling effect  29 because employers differentiate between 'drop-outs' and 'completers' with an equal number of years of education. The second effect is the ‘credential inflation” which is related to the expansion of higher education that has been driven by the importance given to educational credentials in the job market (Collins, 2002). Essentially, employers demand more education from employees for performing same work. Similarly, workers experience underemployment when the job market is poor compared to the pool of formal educational qualifications (Livingstone, 1997) – for instance, workers have higher educational credentials than required by their work or have more knowledge than is required to perform the job. Undoubtedly, the mismatch between job and education challenges the validity of human capital theory. Nevertheless, many predict that employers start to view diplomas and degrees with skepticism, considering problems related to credential inflation, motivation for education, and employability skills. Kivinen and Ahola (1999) give a suggestive description of the social mechanisms of the graduate labour market, which connects the educational system (i.e., formal qualifications) to the world of work (i.e., hierarchies and divisions of labour). While a degree is “a key that unlocks doors”, the actual hiring opportunities show that graduates are “trapped between the excessive supply of educated labour and a shortage of demand for that labour” (p.197). Another criticism of human capital theory concerns its individualistic approach that assumes that people make purposeful rational choices to invest in their education in order to obtain better returns, when, in reality, individuals’ actions are constrained by various social factors. The reality is that individuals with different access to resources invest differently in education, and workers may have monetary or nonmonetary preferences (e.g., job satisfaction, prestige) that impact their choice. Human capital theory basically ignores the effect of social structure on the decision-making process involved in investment in education. However, education is an agent of social reproduction and the impact of social structure on acquiring human capital cannot be disregarded. Collins (1979) characterizes the United States’ system of higher education as a projection of the American values that embrace individualism and free-market competition instead of training people for occupational success: historically, higher education in the United States was not driven by knowledge ideals, but by the desire of middle class and elite groups to secure high status positions for their children. This point is reminiscent of Bourdieu and Passeron’s (1977) concept of arbitrary power, which socializes students into the middle class  30 values of competition and achievement symbolized by the acquisition of educational qualifications. The dominant social groups use credentials to promise meritocratic advancement, while, in reality, the credentialist system favours those who possess the cultural capital to succeed in school and therefore maintains the control of an ‘elite’ over higher status occupations (Bills, 2003; Collins, 1979). In particular, labour market theories on the segmentation of the labour force account for social inequities that arise from working in specific markets. In a segmented labour market, jobs are organized by segments of industrial and occupational distributions. Higher status jobs that are better rewarded (i.e., working conditions, wages and promotional opportunities) are only accessible by certain social groups; there is little opportunity for others to cross (discriminatory) barriers. In the early 1970s, Reich, Gordon, and Edwards (1973) identified four such segments: segmentation into primary and second markets (i.e., the so-called dual labor market) differentiated by stability characteristics; segmentation within the primary sector, essentially between independent and subordinated jobs; segmentation by race within the above distinct segments; segmentation by sex, usually in gender-traditional occupations. Meanwhile, firms are segmenting their internal labour markets. As stated by Reich et al., labour market segmentation arose and is perpetuated because it is functional in the sense that it facilitates the operation of institutions, it establishes and maintains vertical job ladders and it legitimizes social inequalities. These features have not disappeared from current labour markets, but they have embraced new forms, as demonstrated by Hudson (2007), who describes that the dual labour market in America (i.e., polarization between good and bad jobs) is controlled by nonstandard work arrangements (i.e., temporary, part-time, contract or on-call jobs) and non-citizen status rather than just traditional social factors (e.g., sex, race). Bauder (2001) reveals other forms of segmentation and argues that “social inequalities are also constructed inside the labor market, and stigma is attached to workers after, and because, they join a labor market segment” (p.46). His study draws attention to supply-side processes in the segmentation of labor markets in which workers are spatially entrapped to places that offer fewer economic opportunities (e.g., housing market that leads to residential segregation). Another type of segmentation occurs in the knowledge economy, when workers are differentiated not only by the amount and educational attainment, but also by their occupations. In particular, ‘knowledge  31 occupations’ (e.g., professional, management, technical occupations) are ranked higher in the labour force (Baldwin & Beakstead, 2003). Finally, segmentation theories are viewed as explanatory in the study of gender differences in labour market outcomes caused by under- representation by women in occupations that are better rewarded (Beakstead & Vinodrai, 2003; Fortin & Huberman, 2002a; 2002b; Shannon & Kidd, 2001). Essentially, these theories acknowledge that increasing educational attainments by women have changed the gender distribution in most sectors of the labour market but a wage gap still exists because of vertical and horizontal occupational segregation (Charles & Grusky, 2004).    Other labour market theories. Some analyze the education–work transition by focusing on employability. Brown, Hesketh and Williams (2003) challenge the human capital theory, which assumes that return on education is directly related to knowledge and skills acquired through education and training. They define employability “as the relative chances of acquiring and maintaining different kinds of employment” (p.111) in a market over-saturated with job seekers who fulfill the requirements of a specific job. The authors suggest that the positional competition between credentials and jobs in the United Kingdom is controlled by two tendencies: the “rigging” of the market for credentials (i.e., the attempt to control the market through influencing the competition process, like the practice of formal examinations) and the “ranking” of individuals in the market (i.e., the way job seekers ‘package’ their personal qualities and prospective employers link applicants’ personal qualities to potential productivity). Lin, Sweet, Anisef, and Schuetze (2000) examine how employability skills possessed, acquired and utilized by university graduates appear to translate into better employment in the Canadian labour market; they found a net advantage to skills utilization by graduates from vocational education programs compared to liberal arts graduates. Graduates from vocational education programs are also more efficient in signaling their qualifications and abilities to impress potential employers (Lin, Sweet, & Anisef, 2003). To resolve the discrepancy between higher education and the labour market in terms of graduate recruitment and employment, Teichler and Kehm (1995) propose a more dynamic relationship. On one hand, the higher education system should adapt educational policies to respond to the needs of the labour market and employment demands. On the other hand, higher education should exert more “push effects” on the employment system by preparing graduates to become active agents of change in the labour market and to exert some control on the demand side of the labour market.  32 Although it is recognized that human capital theory is possibly flawed because it promotes linear causal models to explain one’s capacity to succeed in the labour market, the human capital concept is still instrumental and economists strive to find appropriate indicators to reveal relationships between education and labour market outcomes. There are also many attempts to use the human capital concept in relation to other forms of capital (e.g., social capital) or social structural factors. However, to my knowledge, there is not much recognition of aspects related to the transferability of human capital between labour markets, although these issues are inevitable, considering the increasing mobility of knowledge workers in global markets. In Canada, the increasing number of highly educated immigrants and the pressing issues regarding the poor utilization of their skills make clear the need to develop the notion of foreign (immigrant) human capital, without assuming that the creation, accumulation or conversion of this capital follows the domestic human capital model. For instance, the screening and signaling processes are likely to take place differently for newcomers looking for jobs, in view of employers’ lack of information about foreign education systems and labour markets and/or immigrants’ lack of knowledge regarding local hiring protocols and limited ability to present their education and experience in a ‘package’ that impresses Canadian employers.    Summary. While the critical perspective of human capital theory has much to offer, I want to draw attention to three important aspects which are relevant to my study, but which are missing from the debate around human capital. a) There are different forms of capital that highly educated immigrants can activate in order to enhance the value of their human capital. While human capital theories acknowledge the role of social capital, less attention is paid to other forms of capital like symbolic and cultural capital. It is essential to recognize that immigrant human capital is not the only asset available to newcomers, and all forms of capital (Bourdieu, 1997) may be employed by immigrants in an attempt to revive their human capital in a new social context. b) Human capital theories do not explicitly account for the means that allow for human capital accumulation and transformation over life course. Especially during life course transitions, individuals may be in situations where the exchange value of their assets is diminished (e.g., immigrants undergo a discounting of their human capital). I argue that Bourdieu’s unified  33 sociological framework lays the foundation for an examination of the manner in which knowledge workers, in particular immigrants, engage in practice in specific fields (i.e., post- secondary education, labour market) in order to transform their human capital. c) Some immigrants succeed better than others in integrating into Canadian society. In order to understand how some individuals negotiate their situations and/or strategize their practice (actions), it is important to adopt a framework that allows for personal agency to become aware of the Canadian social context and then to manifest itself through activating capital (assets) in specific fields of practice. I contend that a sociological perspective that integrates the essence of Bourdieu’s habitus viewed as a generative structure of practical action as well as the role of a socially situated bounded agency over life course would be suitable in guiding the discussion. 1.4.2 A sociological perspective There are several reasons to employ a Bourdieusian framework in my study. Bourdieu’s sociological theory brings a complementary view to economic theories that are based on human capital and that focus primarily on employment and earnings as indicators of the return on investment in a university education. His system of thought contains notions that cover both objective and subjective grounds, allows for the manifestation of structures and agency, and offers a suitable conceptualization of various social issues. Moreover, by bringing together the concepts of capital, practice, field and habitus, this framework can be used as a basis to discuss the transformation of capital at turning points during one’s life course. Habitus as a system of patterns of thought and behaviour initially formed through socialization within family and further acquired through experience is less likely to depreciate during workers’ migration, and can play a role in activating agency to strategize the transformation and adjustment of immigrant human capital. In this section I will present elements of Bourdieu’s theory with an emphasis on: • the relation between the theories of capital and field; • other forms of capital relevant to the study; and • the instrumental role of habitus in mobilizing agency.  34 By recognizing that habitus is crucial in any practical activity that operates capital in a field, Bourdieu confers an active role to human agency in carrying out actions in a specific social space. However, his perspective on the relationship between structure and agency needs to be complemented by approaches that a) explicitly account for the occurrence of change over life course, b) single out the role of personal agency, which is the key concept in making decisions at specific points during the life course, and c) recognize that habitus is essential in mobilizing human agency. For instance, immigrant habitus as a system of implicit knowledge, dispositions, perceptions, beliefs and values is still bound to the country of origin and to the structures within which it was developed. There is no doubt that what differentiates the immigrant and Canadian- born workers is the implicit (tacit) knowledge that they possess (Sternberg, 1998). Therefore, to succeed in the host country, immigrants have to adjust to the social context and acquire the tacit knowledge of the new cultural environment: likened to developing a ‘secondary’ habitus. The enriched habitus can be effective in mobilizing the immigrant personal agency to make decisions and to engage in practical actions in the host country. Next, I will present empirical and theoretical research that draws attention to agency in relation to structures and social contexts, and that highlights the transformational role of agency during the life course. I will discuss: • selected aspects of the agency/structure debate; • various perspectives on life course agency and bounded agency; and • the notion of strategy as the capacity of human agency to pursue life goals. The literature review is structured around Bourdieu’s sociological theory, though it presents further contributions that expand the concepts and, moreover, explicitly locate the notion of agency in a life course perspective. I consider agency to be the central concept of the proposed theoretical framework because it can be operationalized in my study. However, I maintain that the underpinning concept in understanding how agency operates is Bourdieu’s habitus viewed as a generative structure of practical action.    Capital and field. Bourdieu (1997) describes capital as accumulated labour that individuals can appropriate for their own benefit to engage in “the games of society”; each type of capital is a valid source of power. He acknowledges that it takes time to accumulate capital, which then  35 becomes “a force inscribed in objective and subjective structures…. It is what makes the games of society…. [It] is a force inscribed in the objectivity of things so that everything is not equally possible and impossible” (p.46). Bourdieu initially distinguishes between three types of capital: economic capital that gives command over economic resources; social capital that activates resources based on group membership, relationships, social connections and obligations; and cultural capital acquired from parents who transfer to children the attitudes and knowledge that make them comfortable in the educational system, and leads to further advantage in obtaining a higher status in society through educational credentials. Given the unique feature of capital as a source of power, various forms of capital may be exchanged like currency. Cultural and social capitals are crucial in relation to the sociology of education because cultural capital is a key mechanism that activates educational investments, while social capital gives individual credit in society through their membership to social networks (Andres, 1994; Bourdieu, 1983; 1988; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1973). Bourdieu (1984; 1998) finally acknowledges symbolic capital as a disguised form of capital that is recognized as legitimate competence, authority or distinction on specific matters. Clearly, not all forms of capital are available to all agents and the significance of different forms of capital is bounded to social contexts. Thus, immigrants experience barriers to employment after arrival to Canada because employers neither recognize nor value their foreign credentials. Social space is divided in fields that consist of structures of social relations which are characterized by the struggle for positions: individuals or groups are engaged in this struggle when trying to establish what defines valuable and legitimate capital within a space (Bourdieu, 1993). Capital is field-specific because “the structure of the field, i.e., the space of positions [is homologous to] the structure of the distribution of the capital of specific properties which governs success in the field and the winning of the external or specific profits…which are at stake in the field” (Bourdieu, 1983, p.312). The differential possession of capitals generates specific social structures that demarcate agents’ positions in the social topography of the field in which they compete (Bourdieu, 1984; Martin, 2003; Savage, Warde, & Devine, 2005). The more privileged groups legitimize the process to hold power in that field, which leads to social stratification. For instance, all knowledge workers -but especially the immigrants- are affected by the structuration of the labour market that is a result of the distribution of various forms of capital, and, therefore, power in the field.  36    Social capital. Social capital is a sociological concept that defines an advantage created by a person's location in a structure of relationships. Bourdieu (1997) defines social capital as an “aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition” (p.51). By fulfilling their social obligations, group members contribute to create a “collectivity- owned” capital and, in return, each member is entitled to some credit. Bourdieu places the source of social capital in social connections – the ‘know-who’ is a valuable resource and social capital is instrumental in accessing privileged, powerful positions. Lin (2001) associates investment in social relations with expected returns in the marketplace (e.g., career attainment and advancement). In contrast, Coleman (1988) adopts a functional approach to social capital: he points to aspects of social structure that facilitate the actions of actors within the structure. He also associates social capital with notions of trust and social norms to define one’s belonging to a community, similar to Putnam (2000), who focuses on association membership. This results in social networks and social trust that build some level of “civicness”, or a sense of civic community in towns, cities and countries. Portes (1998) notes that Coleman included in the social capital concept the mechanisms that generate it (e.g., network, reciprocity expectations, trust, social norms), the consequences of possessing it (e.g., privileged access to information) and the social organization that allows for both sources and effects to materialize (e.g., group membership). My interest in using this concept is to suggest that information channels represent one form of social capital which is essential for graduates entering the world of work and vital for immigrants building their lives in a new country. Group membership is also relevant to the accumulation of capital by knowledge workers, especially immigrants, who start to reshape professional networks and advance their careers in Canada. Equally relevant are the notion of trust that is enhanced through social practice and the assimilation of social norms. The need to build social capital is valid for any field of practice as the only way to overcome social and professional exclusion.    Cultural capital. Of all forms of capital, cultural capital is perhaps the most popular in educational research. It underlines family background as the most influential factor of individual educational success, from early childhood learning to post-secondary education (especially completion thereof) and beyond. Cultural capital is a well-elaborated concept in Bourdieu’s  37 theory (1997) and is comprised of three subtypes: objectified, embodied and institutionalized capitals. The objectified cultural capital refers to cultural goods, such as works of art, that are owned and can be transmitted physically -like economic capital- but that also have a symbolic meaning by facilitating the embodiment of cultural capital and creating an aesthetic disposition and a sense of distinction (Bourdieu, 1984). The embodied type of cultural capital is the result of socialization within family; it is created and transferred over time, like linguistic capital or artistic taste or love of learning. This form of capital results from developing the cultural resources (e.g., behaviour, habits) to appreciate (the dominant) culture, and it is also recognized in the formation of primary habitus. It is essential in the appropriation and use of objectified capital and the development of the institutionalized cultural capital (Dumais, 2002; Moore, 2004); the latter consists of institutional recognition of the embodied cultural capital held by an individual who successfully converted it via the educational system into academic credentials. Because of its role in cultural and social reproduction (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1973), cultural capital is seen to hold a deterministic connotation and those who advocate the primacy of agency over social structures tend to diminish its importance. The reason is that the educational system endorses the dominant culture by validating the normative rules that recognize a specific cultural capital (e.g., academic education is valued by middle and upper class families) and thus contributes to the reproduction and legitimization of social inequalities that are accumulated during one’s life (Andres, 1994). Rewards are mainly measured in relation to the labour market, where the final conversion of cultural capital to economic capital guarantees a monetary value for an institutional level of achievement. Those who are not members of the dominant culture are at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving cultural information and building cultural capital, so they encounter overt or covert social exclusion (Robbins, 2005). An interesting question is whether newcomers who belong to cultures that differ from the host culture are in danger of becoming socially excluded because they lack the tacit cultural knowledge of the normative rules governing the Canadian society, and to what extent this has an impact on their economic integration. The main reason to introduce embodied cultural capital to analyze the journeys of university graduates, especially immigrants, is because this form of capital is the most intimately related to the way human agency would engage in learning over the life course. Embodied cultural capital  38 makes an impact on one’s primary habitus (dispositions) produced during childhood. Since cultural capital produces durable effects on individuals, at least some elements of cultural capital can endure life course transitions such as immigration, and can regain value in new social contexts. I argue that for immigrants, embodied cultural capital is a valuable asset they carry to the new home country.    Symbolic capital. Immigrant human capital is a valuable asset, but only if employers recognize it. Other forms of capital, such as social and symbolic capitals also depend on recognition from the outside world. Bourdieu describes symbolic capital as the amount of honour, prestige, the right to be listened to, etc., possessed by a person with regards to structures that confer “reputation for competence and an image of respectability” (1984, p.191). Consequently, it is a source of power that becomes essential to individual agents trying to secure social positions. Symbolic capital is different than one’s cultural or social capital being related to the way that other social agents perceive his/her social position based on some hierarchical schemes or “collective expectations” (Bourdieu, 1998). Symbolic capital can be also a group property characteristic of all members of a group. It can be used as a collective strategy to conserve or to increase power or as an individual strategy to join groups which possess symbolic capital. For instance, Bourdieu (1988) related the prestige and recognition acquired by university professors in the French higher education system of the late sixties to possession of symbolic capital. Lin (2001) does not differentiate symbolic capital from social capital, but he uses similar terms such as recognition, prestige and esteem to capture the idea that assets can be possessed and differentiated by groups and individuals. “A group can build, maintain, or lose reputation. Likewise, within a group, individuals acquire, attain, or suffer different levels of reputation or ill repute” (p.158). I was first acquainted with this concept in relation to research on gender inequities in academia and male-dominated occupations. Glover (2000) employs the term reputational capital, specified originally by King (1994) as a form of cultural capital. The concept seeks to explain why women and men with science degrees and comparable human capital (i.e., doctoral qualifications at prestigious universities) progress at different speeds in scientific careers (i.e., women work in less prestigious fields, tend to be in less secure positions, are promoted more slowly). King regards the reputational capital as being created as a result of “a social process involving friends,  39 colleagues, competitors ... who are also involved in a process of judgment about an individual’s work, as well as their ‘whole professional persona’” (p.130). In this symbolic space of power, women scientists have more difficulty in gaining an authoritative voice. The example of women in science-related occupations can be easily extended to interpret why other ‘outsider’ groups (e.g., immigrants) may have lower chances of success in professional fields in which reputation (e.g., the recognition of human capital, size of social network) matters. For instance, immigrant human capital may hold no symbolic value in social contexts (spaces) structured by relations and rules that disregard it. As a result, immigrants cannot use their human capital. One explanation is the enormous and often hidden role that symbolic capital has in mediating the conversion of all other forms of capital. Since professions are fields rich in capital, the dominant social groups have the power to decide who can enter the field by imposing the rules of the dominant culture. The fact that many highly educated immigrants decide to obtain Canadian credentials suggests that they believe this will add symbolic value to their human capital. These practical actions follow Bourdieu’s reasoning: “when one knows that symbolic capital is credit…a kind of advance, a credence, that only the group’s belief can grant those who give it the best symbolic and material guarantees, it can be seen that the exhibition of symbolic capital (which is always very expensive in material terms) is one of the mechanisms which (no doubt universally) make capital go to capital” (1990, p.120).    Practice and habitus. While capital and field shape the structures of the society, practice and habitus form agency. Bourdieu’s theory of practice emphasizes the role of field-specific habitus that is constituted during practice in the field and it serves practical functions. Positions in a field of practice are the result of the combined effect of habitus shaped by one’s social trajectory, and positions in a field of distributions of capital. Habitus consists of: Systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structure, that is, as principles which generate and organize practices and representations… the dispositions [are] durably inculcated by the possibilities and impossibilities, freedoms and necessities, opportunities and prohibitions inscribed in the objective conditions … dispositions [are] objectively compatible with these conditions and in a sense pre-adapted to their demands (Bourdieu, 1990, p.53-54).   40 Activation and conversion of capital (resources) is possible only when agents exert their habitus (dispositions) through practice (actions) in a field (multi-dimensional space of positions). Andres (1994) explains the formula that defines the concepts central to Bourdieu’s sociology (1984), [(habitus)(capital)] + field = practice as if practice (actions) is an outcome of a relationship between capital (resources), habitus (dispositions) and field (multi-dimensional space of positions). However, it is important to point out that Bourdieu attributed a higher role to practice since he explicitly used terms like “practice-unifying” and “practice-generating” principle, or “unity hidden under the diversity and multiplicity of the set of practices performed in fields” (1984, p.101). This suggests that practice in a field (i.e., action and interaction) is the unifying factor, rather than merely an effect, and that only practice allows agents to gain and/or convert capital. For instance, the Canadian post-secondary system or the labour markets consist in structures of social relations (fields of practice) in which individual habitus predisposes agents toward practical action to compete for better positions by skillfully mobilizing capital associated with credentials, occupational prestige or social networks. Bourdieu’s habitus also includes one’s practical knowledge of the social world, a series of classificatory schemes of perception and appreciation that are shared by the agents in a given social formation (1984). This tacit (implicit) knowledge consists often of habits, language, norms and culture of a specific social context. Habitus as tacit knowledge is embodied by the social agents and gives them “the feel for the game” when envisaging strategies and taking action. The concept of habitus has often led to controversial interpretations. As Mahar, Harker, and Wilkes (1990) explain, habitus is created within objective structures (e.g., family, community, higher education) and through personal history and experiences, it includes one’s knowledge and understandings of the world, so it is a dynamic concept that changes when the individual changes positions within fields. Still, the authors believe that habitus is subject to various constraints on agency, like it is influenced by the habitus of socializing agents (e.g., family, school) or by the change of objective conditions. The authors finally agree that subjectivism and objectivism are reconciled in Bourdieu’s theory of social research by bridging habitus (i.e., subjective concept) and field (i.e., objective structure) via practice. Bourdieu (1990) maintains that habitus offers a durable form of freedom, not a form of determinism – it allows for some struggle and changes by  41 the human agency because it is through the work of habitus that practice (agency in action) is linked with capital and field (structure). Elsewhere, Bourdieu explains: Habitus is not the fate that some people read into it. Being the product of history, it is an open system of dispositions that is constantly subjected to experiences, and therefore constantly affected by them in a way that either reinforces or modifies its structures. It is durable, but not eternal. [However] there is a probability, inscribed in the social destiny associated with definite social conditions, that experiences will confirm habitus, because most people are statistically bound to encounter circumstances that tend to agree with those that originally fashioned their habitus (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p.133).  Bourdieu (1990) assigns a temporal dimension to habitus by linking the agent’s present practice to his/her dispositions toward the future. He also talks about the hysteresis of habitus, which describes a condition in which habitus is out of time or place: this is often because a person or people changed positions and their habitus is no longer appropriate. Later, it is stated that, “in habitus the past, the present and the future intersect and interpenetrate one another” (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p.22). Referring to the durability of habitus, Bourdieu explained the notion as a product of history: In all the cases where dispositions encounter conditions (including fields) different from those in which they were constructed and assembled, there is a dialectical confrontation between habitus, as structured structure, and objective structures. In this confrontation, habitus operates as a structuring structure able to selectively perceive and to transform the objective structure according to its own structure while, at the same time, being re- structured, transformed in its makeup by the pressure of the objective structure. This means, that in rapidly changing societies, habitus changes constantly, continuously, but within the limits inherent in its originary structure… (Bourdieu, 2005, p.46).  This description suggests that exposure to (new) social contexts may re-structure habitus and thus enrich one’s embodied cultural capital that may be subsequently converted into other forms of capital. For instance, dispositions for learning are acquired over time and have a lasting effect that supports adults to engage in academic work later in life. Lifelong learners find motivation for learning in internal or external sources (e.g., self-improvement or job requirements), but they cannot succeed without possessing learning dispositions and effective study habits. Lizardo argues that “habitus is seen simply as a passive perceptual and classificatory faculty or ... the embodied habitus is simply seen as the docile clay where society leaves its stamp” (2004,  42 p.380). Instead, he asserts that habitus should be recognized as an objective structure in itself because of its active role of generative structure of practical action. Without recognizing that “the practices produced by the habitus [are] the strategy-generating principle enabling agents to cope with unforeseen and ever-changing situations” (Bourdieu, 1977, p.72) the whole idea of practical action cannot even be understood. Habitus is also called a structuring structure because “it acts as a reservoir of meanings and recipes for action assigned by, produced by and synchronized with the fields that provided them to habitus in the first place, and which in turn habitus tends to reproduce through its action” (Widick, 2004, p.199). In my study, I adopt this active meaning of habitus as “the structuring mechanism that operates from within agents” (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p.18). Habitus includes tacit (implicit) knowledge of the social world that is, to some extent, related to classificatory schemes inherited from the family as well as acquired through experience and interaction with school, community, church, other institutions and fields of practice. Habitus also includes embodied (internalized) dispositions toward the world: it is an intrinsic quality that supports the agent over life course in relation to education, work, culture or everyday life. For my study, it is relevant to recognize that habitus is a generative structure of practical action that has an infinite capacity to be re-structured (within some limits), when social agents encounter changing conditions over life course. For instance, when exposed to the social context of the host country, immigrant habitus may be re- structured by gradually and selectively acquiring the implicit (tacit) knowledge of the new culture (Sternberg, 1998).    Agency and Structure. I will further discuss agency in relation to social contexts and structures and highlight the transformational role of agency during the life course. While agency represents the capacity of human beings to engage in practical action (i.e., using available resources in fields of practice), structure describes the context in which action takes place (i.e., institutions, norms, relationships). The structure/agency debate revolves around the question of whether social structure or human agency should be given predominance over life course. While structuralism emphasizes that social agents are inherently socialized and their behaviour is entirely determined by various structures, other sociological theories attempt to establish under which conditions social agents gain freedom and make choices.  43 As noted by Bourdieu, social structure introduces “the notion of the rule which can refer indifferently to the regularity immanent in practices … [or] the model constructed by science to account for it, or the norm consciously posited and respected by the agents” (1990, p.37). He acknowledges that although the actions of social agents are informed and shaped by social structures, these actions may influence social structures through practice in specific fields. Giddens (1979; 1984) formulates a model of reflexive, knowledgeable agents who understand society’s institutions, can justify their actions and assume the consequences of their social action. He also sees social reproduction as a practical activity, but describes social structures as both “enabling and constraining”, consisting in “rules and resources” that define both a virtual and an actual space for social action. In his structuration theory, Giddens uses the notion of “duality of structure” to suggest that the rules and resources of a social system are both the medium (conditions) and outcome of social activities during which agents, through reflexive practices, produce and reproduce the social structures. The view of a duality of structure is also adopted by Sewell (1992) who replaces “rules” that imply formally stated prescriptions or norms with “schemas”, procedures that can be generalized to new situations by a resourceful agent. Sewell supports that “agents are empowered by structures, both by the knowledge of cultural schemas that enables them to mobilize resources and by the access to resources that enables them to enact schemas” (p.27). He also views structure as being dynamic and evolving through the action of resourceful agency. Human agency has the capability to impact and/or adjust to structures. Beck (1992) put forward that an “individualized individual”, defined as the central unit of social life, has emerged during the transition from industrial society (i.e., modern societal structure developed after the industrial revolution) to “risk society” (i.e., modern society that develops ways to respond to risk). For Beck, risk is “a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernization itself'' (p.21). However, he emphasizes that risks are the result of individual decisions. Beck’s individual is less bound by social norms and values or by traditional forms of collective identities such as social class, so he learns to live in the modern world by allowing desire and necessity to be economically active. Beck suggests that social class categories, which confer particular identities to individuals can be restructured by economic boundaries. This  44 argument is known as the individualization thesis (i.e., the individual is accountable for both success and failure of his/her social actions). More recently, Rudd and Evans (1998) proposed the notion of structured individualization, rooted in Beck’s individualization thesis and in life course theory, to illustrate that life course pathways of young people in the UK who are experiencing school-to-work transition were shaped by the combined effect of structure and agency. Although young people in the study demonstrated agency because they valued individual effort and were confident that independent pathways through further education and into work could be shaped by hard work and personal attributes, agents continued to be aware of the system and the effect of economic structures. Anisef and Axelrod (2001) used the notion of structured individualization to explain how structural forces affected the life pathways of Canadian youth, but they also acknowledged the role of agency and individual traits in making choices. Youth who articulated their life goals were particularly capable of avoiding the constraining effects of social structures and to find ways to navigate their life courses: this highlights the significant role of agency in one’s life. A theoretical framework portraying the agency/structure relationship in a temporal perspective was proposed by Emirbayer and Mische (1998). The authors define agency as “the temporally constructed engagement by actors of different structural environments … which, through the interplay of habit, imagination and judgment, both reproduces and transforms those structures in interactive response to the problems posed by changing historical situations” (p.970). This definition is reminiscent of both Bourdieu’s notion of habitus and Gidden’s reflexive agency. In this temporal framework, agents adopt a “relational pragmatics” perspective, centered on their engagement (or disengagement) with social environments that are structured by their actions but are flexible enough to accommodate change. Essentially, Emirbayer and Mische employ a life course perspective by seeing the individual agents as simultaneously aware of and actively engaged by patterns and situations from the past, present and future; as well, the individual agents are seen as being capable of shifting these perspectives in order to mediate the structuring contexts in which they unfold social action.    Life course agency. One idea that seems to emerge from the agency-structure debate is the usefulness of looking at this relationship from a life course perspective. Clearly, the supremacy  45 of one or the other of these two (opposite) tendencies changes over life course. The concept of life course agency is particularly relevant to my dissertation because it reinforces the idea that individual has the capacity to formulate and to pursue life plans adequate to a specific moment (Hitlin & Elder, 2007). The notion is useful in understanding how individuals manifest agency by adopting strategies and making decisions at turning points during life course. Transition points are primarily characterized by instability and change. In these particular circumstances, the agents extend their attention to past experiences, current conditions and future goals in order to make decisions – a temporal dimension that is the essence of life course agency and is also reminiscent of Bourdieu’s habitus. The life course agency does not only include a situated form of action with long-term implications, but also a self-reflective belief about an agent’s ability to attain long-term goals, a belief that is rooted in previous experiences, dispositions and behaviours acquired throughout the agent’s life course. There are differences between research on life course agency and life course research. Hitlin and Elder pointed that life course scholars document transitions and turning points in others’ lives “after the fact”, while research on life course agency maintains the focus on individual and his/her capacity to plan the future. Thus, individuals become "active agents in shaping their biographies—within a myriad of constraints, of course—but people differ in their ability to successfully implement these strategies” (2007, p.183). Similarly, Heinz and Krüger acknowledge that, “by introducing agency into life-course equation, we take into account that macro-structures do not determine the shape of life courses, but individuals contribute to it by being active agents of their biography” (2001, p.41), ideas that are reminiscent of Gidden’s “reflexive agent” and of Sewell’s “resourceful agent”.    Bounded agency. Since “personal agency and social change are not always harmonious” (Shanahan & Hood, 2000, p.123), social change may induce modifications in institutions, organizations, small groups and interpersonal relationships that complicate the ability of the life course agency to make decisions. Thus, the agency must consciously understand the changing social context. The need for continuous social awareness is part of living with a culture of uncertainty in a highly differentiated complex society. To account for the manner in which people attempt to maintain control over their lives by adjusting their dispositions and, therefore, their actions to changes in social contexts and personal circumstances, Shanahan and Hood  46 introduced the term bounded agency. In their theoretical study, this concept illustrates the dynamic interplay between personal agency (i.e., individual capacity to formulate and pursue goals), group-based strategies (e.g., set up by close relationships, like family and school), and macrostructural context (i.e., structured pathways of education, work and family) that governs the transition from adolescence to adulthood. They showed that in a social landscape that opens more viable options to individuals, there is an increasing probability of the differentiation of life histories, compared to historical periods involving fewer available options, when the state and institutions restricted the range of pathways and assigned individuals into pathways. Evans (2007) offers an interesting perspective in which she locates various theories of structure and agency in a conceptual schema that is based on structure-agency, internal-external control (struggling with social forces), and social reproduction-conversion dimensions. The empirical grounded concept of bounded agency describes a life course agency that embodies subjective perceptions of the structure that has to be negotiated, and of the social landscapes that agents need to navigate. Evan states that “bounded agency is socially situated agency [italics added], influenced but not determined by environments and emphasizing internalized frames of reference as well as external actions” (p.93). This notion is reminiscent of Bourdieu’s habitus. Evans asserts that while structured individualization places more emphasis on external structures, bounded agency shifts the focus onto “individuals as actors” by placing emphasis on internal processes. Evans also noted that the bounded agency concept offers a way to understand people’s experiences in changing social landscapes because it emphasizes the manner in which past habits and future opportunities relate to the present moment. Most studies on life course agency and bounded agency are focused on adolescents and youth in school-to-work transition. However, Rubenson and Desjardins (2009) offer a different perspective when employing the notion of bounded agency to understanding barriers to adult education participation. Dispositional factors are known to be crucial in modeling adult participation. Rubenson and Desjardins emphasize that dispositions toward education are influenced by the social context, and are a result of adults’ social experiences. The bounded agency that controls choices and actions, thus enabling participation in education, takes into account the interaction between structural barriers and individual dispositions.  47 In essence, human agency describes the capacity for human beings to exert social action and make choices. However, choices depend on individual assets accumulated through education, experiences and skills throughout life course, and are influenced by specific life course circumstances. There is no doubt that agency could be constrained by obstacles raised by social structure and changes in social contexts. However, the role of a bounded agency is to identify opportunities by understanding the social (changing) context. The notion of bounded agency is particularly useful for my study because of the explicit focus on the interaction between agents and social context.    Agency and strategy.  The notion of strategy appears in various instances in Bourdieu sociological theory. Strategy as a planning tool for social action empowers the agent and thus attenuates the determinism that many attach to Bourdieu theoretical framework. Strategy is particularly useful in relation to the topic of this dissertation regarding capital-rich individuals who are expected to efficiently activate their capital in order to establish or optimize positions in the social space (e.g., the labour market). In one instance, this term appears in Bourdieu’s metaphor of players in a card game which he uses to explain how agents plan their marriage strategies to guarantee the social reproduction of power relations (1977). He compares the matrimonial game with “a card game, in which the outcome depends partly on the deal, the cards held (their value itself being defined by the rules of the game, characteristic of the social formation in question), and partly on the players’ skill” (p.58). Bourdieu argues that individual positions in a social space are not deterministically established because what finally matters is that the agent knows the rules of the game and adopts effective strategies to take advantage of the ‘hand dealt’ (capital). In a later study, it is acknowledged that the card game metaphor is not perfect because it implies that the game has some definite rules, when in fact the reality is more complicated (Lamaison & Bourdieu, 1986). One difficulty is that strategy, like habitus, depends on the field of practice. For instance, habitus as implicit knowledge may be useful in specific social spaces. Knowing the history of the field is an important part of the game (Bourdieu, 1993), because “through the practical knowledge of the principles of the game that is tacitly [italics added] required for new entrants the whole history of the game, the whole past of the game, is present in each act of the game” (p.74). Obviously, new  48 players are disadvantaged because it takes time and continuing practice to acquire implicit (tacit) knowledge and habitus to operate in a field and then strategize social actions. The notion of strategy is still powerful, because it reinforces the idea that outcomes do not depend solely on assets. Individual agent gains more freedom for decision and social action because habitus and field are connected through practice. DiMaggio offers another interesting approach on agency and strategy when discussing that Bourdieu’s theory is usually portrayed as determinist because his social space is structured by the distribution of capital, and governed by capital reproduction, which maintains cultural and social reproduction and thus supports a hierarchy of social classes. DiMaggio (1979) argues that in Bourdieu’s universe there are no classes-for-themselves, but “aggregates of optimizers, united by habitus, pursuing parallel strategies toward similar, but not collective, ends.” (p.1470). Although DiMaggio acknowledges that Bourdieu’s notions of capital, capital reproduction and class reveal a Marxist influence, he maintains that “the members of Bourdieu’s classes are strategists, not strugglers, engaging in practices, not praxis; families, not classes, are the agents of conflict” (p.1470). For instance, in the field of education and cultural reproduction, conflict occurs even within the dominant class, between sectors which are rich in economic capital (e.g., heads of industry and commerce) and sectors which are rich in cultural capital (e.g., professionals, engineers, teachers). Members of the upper wealthy class convert a portion of their economic capital into “credentialed cultural capital” by ensuring that they and their children attend prestigious schools and universities. On the contrary, members of less wealthy groups are more dependent on cultural capital and their class habitus to acquire their own success and to guarantee the success of their children. This contrast shows that each social group strategizes the use of available resources, and that the chosen strategies depend on what appears to be valued in a given social context. For instance, in the case of highly educated immigrants to Canada, a reliable asset could be their embodied cultural capital (e.g., linguistic and cultural skills) but also habitus as implicit knowledge, patterns of thought, dispositions and behaviours.   Summary. I believe that a theoretical framework based on the notions of capital, agency and habitus is appropriate to guide the discussion and interpret the research findings of my analysis. First, Bourdieu’s sociological theory provides the fundamental concepts to guide the discussion of capital transformation over life course because this theory indicates the scope of social action  49 (i.e., secure positions in the social space), the resources (i.e., various forms of capital), and the process (i.e., practice in specific fields). In particular, social and symbolic capital can be employed to understand how the structuration of labour markets is manifested in relation to various social factors. For highly educated immigrants, embodied cultural capital and habitus are perhaps the most useful in analyzing how agency can be mobilized toward social action because their effects are more durable and transferable during the migration to the host country. Second, the notion of bounded agency is useful to understand how agents observe new social circumstances, identify ‘windows of opportunities’ for their employment and/or further education before engaging in social actions. This is particularly relevant to immigrants who learn to ‘read’ the Canadian social context and acquire tacit knowledge that restructure their habitus. When strategizing further actions, the bounded agency relies on the intrinsic reservoir of dispositions, implicit knowledge and capabilities that constitutes the individual habitus. Although this process must be different for university graduates of Canadian institutions who have more knowledge of the Canadian social context, I believe that an adjustment of dispositions and behaviours due to the exposure to existing opportunity structures available in the labour market and trends observed within society at large occurs in both situations. The generative structure of practical action that is embedded in one’s habitus supports the agency in becoming bounded by the new (or changing) social context and in making informed decisions after assessing situations and planning strategies. 1.4.3 Proposed conceptual framework My first thought when planning this research was just to study the socio-economic integration of highly educated immigrants arrived to Canada in the early 2000s. The empirical evidence, however, regarding barriers to acceptance of their human capital by Canadian employers pointed that such study requires a better understanding of the Canadian social and institutional structures that comprise the social context in which immigrants’ integration takes place. On one side, social context directly influences, through its structures, the outcomes of immigrants’ integration, and on the other side social context shapes immigrants’ beliefs and behaviours by restructuring their habitus. The relative success or failure of immigrants’ socio-economic integration cannot be  50 evaluated without situating their journeys in the landscape describing the mainstream group – the Canadian-educated university graduates with whom immigrants compete in the labour market. Although my dissertation has primarily the scope of an empirical analysis (i.e., to examine evidence of a social phenomenon), developing a conceptual framework to interpret the results provides additional insights in understanding individuals’ motivation to engage in specific work and education pathways aiming for a continual transformation of their human capital. Figure 1.5 shows a graphic model that attempts to theorize the dynamic interaction between structures and agency during which agency becomes more socially situated. As a result, bounded agency can be more effective in making decisions and adopting strategies that, presumably, lead to a transformation of capital (particularly human capital). I will point to the four levels of a model that could explain the process in which are engaged immigrants or, in general, individuals who experience life course transitions involving utilization and transformation of human capital. This is essentially a life course agency model: anchored in the past, responding to the present and envisaging the future. Figure 1.5 Life course agency model            Forms of capital (assets). In a first stage, I consider as assets traditional forms of capital that individuals possess when engaging with the social context (e.g., highly educated newcomers  51 entering the Canadian society). Human capital is the crucial asset in relation to fields like labour market or post-secondary system: it is the pivotal concept concerning the return to university education relevant to this study. Human capital embedded in educational credentials (i.e., defined by level of education, type of program or field of study, origin of education) and in individual acquisition of work experience over life course is an instrumental concept to describe the terms on which workers compete for jobs in the labour market. In the model, human capital consists in objective institutionalized measures that give some official recognition to educational credentials, work experience, professional expertise – the typical description of qualifications included in a résumé that knowledge workers use to acquire positions in the labour market, and to engage in further education in the post-secondary system. In the process of operating the human capital in the labour market, individuals can make use of social network (i.e., social capital) and/or attach symbolic meanings to assets (i.e., symbolic capital). Such examples are social capital that accounts for membership in professional groups or symbolic capital that accounts for having obtained a degree at a prestigious institution or having worked in a highly-ranked workplace. Workers signal information about these forms of capital to impress employers, and employers overtly or covertly become aware of these forms of capital when screening job seekers. For instance, recognition of foreign credentials in the labour market or post-secondary system depends on country/region where credentials were obtained and this quality of foreign credentials makes a substantial difference in the manner in which newcomers to Canada succeed to compete in the labour market. The agents also possess a less visible form of capital: embodied cultural capital, which has a very complex nature. It consists of individual socialization characteristics and behaviours that were built over time, often within family and community, which give agents the ability to function in familiar milieus. It is often related to the primary habitus (dispositions). Embodied cultural capital has no formal recognition in the labour market or post-secondary system. In an ideal situation, all these assets should be a) connected, to ensure a functional utilization in the social space (e.g., labour market), and b) matched to the norms imposed by a social context. However, during major life course transitions, like immigration, or when first entering the labour market as knowledge workers, individuals attempt to engage with various structures (either  52 labour market or PSE or both) by ‘displaying’ their attributes (most likely a résumé) that are not always valued by those who evaluate them. Also, some forms of capital may be totally missing for recent immigrants (e.g., social capital) or for Canadian-educated graduates (e.g., the lack of symbolic value of a degree granted by a less prestigious institution). When agents attempt to participate in a field of practice like the labour market or the post- secondary system, the institutionalized human capital is the most likely to be negotiated. Although this life course agency model will focus on the transformation of human capital, which is the most likely to control the competition of knowledge workers in the labour market, a process involving the manifestation of agency during life course transitions is expected to affect all forms of capital in one’s possession.    Structure and agency. At the second level, I include the social space in which these assets are operated by agency. This stage allows for a negotiation between structure and agency that leads to shaping a bounded agency capable of assimilating information about the social context. I believe that there are two major ways in which structure impacts agency that are relevant to the study, and their effect depends on the interaction between agency and various societal structures. First, agents who are already active in some fields are informed by the practice in these fields that shapes their field-specific habitus. Of interest in this study are the Canadian labour market and post-secondary system (fields) which are characterized by practices in which knowledge workers (might) engage in order to obtain economic benefits or new credentials. When individuals engage in a specific practice, they build or enhance field-specific habitus. Practice in these fields leads to direct outcomes (e.g., those who participate in the labour market earn an income) or will lead to outcomes through the mediation of a bounded agency. Overall, practical action leads to an enrichment and diversification of one’s habitus and strengthens the relationship between structure (i.e., social context with institutions and norms) and agency. Second, all agents, even those who are not active in the labour market or post-secondary institutions, can be influenced by the social context by assimilating information on social structures and institutions, social inequities and power structure, cultural differences and practices, which is part of being/becoming an active citizen. Particularly in the case of immigrants, the social context may have a stronger effect on agency through the acquisition of  53 tacit knowledge and the restructuring of one’s habitus. The stronger effect is also due to the novelty of information, and by being assimilated through a comparative lens that continuously contrasts the Canadian social context with contexts from immigrants’ home countries. Nevertheless, especially for immigrants who do not have the chance to become involved with the labour market and education after arrival, I hypothesize that there are still ways in which their bounded agency can be shaped through interaction with other structures. The argument of this dissertation is that agency is important in navigating social spaces and taking action especially at turning points or life course transitions (e.g., immigration). I believe the concept of bounded agency is the most appropriate to employ because it accounts for the interaction with the Canadian social context and/or fields of practice which gives agents the opportunity to assimilate information, adjust dispositions, evaluate resources and make choices. At the boundary between capital, and structure and agency, I include habitus as implicit knowledge and patterns of thought, dispositions and behaviours acquired over life course. In the diagram, I suggest that embodied cultural capital and habitus that are intimately related to agency through past history, present action, and future plans, become essential in shaping the nature of agency. These two properties are like a sort of ‘potential energy’ that is stored by an individual, and I believe that they have the most important effect in mobilizing agency toward social action. While other forms of capital may not be available for use in fields of practice (as suggested in the figure above through the use of dashed lines) if the agents do not have access to the fields (e.g., if they are unemployed), embodied cultural capital and habitus are still reliable elements that shape the response of human agency to social structures at any time during life course. As suggested in the diagram, similar to agency, habitus can be re-structured through its interaction with the structures of external fields.    Evaluation. In the diagram, I indicated this third stage in a light colour (green) because it would be difficult to produce evidence in my study that this evaluation stage occurred. However, this stage illustrates that bounded agency engages in an evaluation of both objective and subjective grounds as part of planning and making informed decisions. The objective grounds consist in examining structures of obstacles and opportunities to which university graduates (Canadian-educated and immigrants) are exposed while navigating the labour market and post-  54 secondary system, as well as in understanding social trends and current circumstances. The more subjective grounds are a result of individual reflection and the evaluation (or re-evaluation) of resources (capitals) required to engage in social action. Although subjective in nature, I think that the re-evaluation of capital possessions and personal dispositions (e.g., habitus) depends on the understanding of the social context. This evaluation stage must be a precursor to planning, making decisions and finally adopting strategies.    Outcomes. During the negotiation between structures and the bounded agency, obstacles and opportunities are recognized and resources/assets are re-evaluated so that the agent is capable of developing strategies and making choices to engage in fields of practice that would presumably lead to a transformation of capital as a final desirable outcome. Although I acknowledge in the model that other forms of capital are enriched through this process, I will frequently refer to human capital because of its importance to knowledge workers. This transformed human capital incorporates new acquired institutionalized features (e.g., formal and non-formal education or training), but also social feedback that was attached to it by the action of bounded agency. As a result, the transformed human capital might stand a better chance of being recognized by Canadian employers. It is also expected that a circular process will continue because the bounded agency remains alert to changes in the social environment. In summary, a model that incorporates the effect of social context on human agency offers an instrumental framework with which to assess how university graduates cope with obstacles and use opportunities to maximize the return to education. I hypothesize that a vast majority of university graduates navigate the labour market landscape by continuously developing their human capital through various forms of post-secondary education. Other forms of capital (e.g., cultural, social and symbolic capital) may be instrumental, and each social group (i.e., men, women, older workers, immigrants) may face different opportunities to access resources and interact with structures. In particular, highly educated immigrants possess capital, but they need to shape it into a form that is familiar to Canadian employers, reason why immigrants may attach a symbolic and not only a practical value to obtaining Canadian post-secondary education. The model can be also used to understand the action of a bounded agency in rapidly changing knowledge economies and the idea of a learner-worker identity. This is essentially a life course agency model focused on the transformation of (human) capital. It takes into account the effect  55 of social context that influences both the process and the ability of agency to control it. I maintain that one’s habitus is the underpinning concept that represents the structuring structure of the entire process of bounded agency activation. 1.5 Research method    1.5.1 Research theme This dissertation challenges the worth of a university degree in the segmented Canadian labour market by examining obstacles and opportunities within the labour market and post-secondary system that are experienced by university graduates in their journeys as knowledge workers in early 2000s. A particular social group of interest are recent highly educated immigrants whose entry into the labour market is contextualized within the broader economic, educational and social situation of today’s Canadian society. To address the research goal, I conducted secondary analyzes presented in four empirical studies (Chapters 2 to 5). The main assumptions and points for discussion will be introduced at the beginning of the Concluding chapter that offers an interpretation of findings presented in the empirical studies within the frame provided by the conceptual model (Chapter 1). 1.5.2 Empirical studies Data for analysis consist in research findings of four empirical studies that document how university graduates, in particular foreign educated immigrants, navigate the labour market and/or continue to utilize the post-secondary system in early 2000s. The findings presented in the four manuscript chapters cover the research theme. However, if necessary, other publications or unpublished results based on same databases and obtained by the researcher will be presented. Two of the studies essentially demonstrate that the Canadian labour market is not free of social inequities. This condition becomes critical for the economy and society because it may obstruct the participation of all talented knowledge workers. In particular, the waste of human potential is unfair to highly educated immigrants who came to Canada on the grounds of their abilities. While some attribute this situation to possible deficiencies in immigrant human capital, language barriers or discrimination, my account recognizes the realities of the Canadian labour market in which both Canadian-educated and foreign-educated individuals with similar level of formal  56 education compete for jobs. Studies 1 and 2 set up the stage for the analysis by revealing aspects of the differential outcomes in the Canadian labour market by university graduates. 1. Adamuti-Trache, M., & Sweet, R. (2005). Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. Canadian Studies in Population, 32(2), 177-201. 2. Adamuti-Trache, M., Hawkey, C., Schuetze, H. G., & Glickman, V. (2006). The Labour market value of liberal arts and applied education programs: Evidence from British Columbia. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 36(2), 49-75. The next two studies promote the idea that the concept of knowledge economy is associated to continuing involvement in education. The decision to continue formal, non-formal or informal education reflects a strategy that today’s workers employ to fulfill career and life goals – job advancement, skills upgrading, personal growth or joy of learning. Yet, labour market theories based on human capital follow a static approach to measure social and economic effects, and do not explicitly include the continuing education component that accounts for the human capital development. A multi-dimensional perspective is particularly relevant to understand the socio- economic integration of newcomers to Canada. In this process, further education could be one strategy that allows the transformation of immigrant human capital by adding knowledge and skill value, but most of all allowing for immigrants’ interaction with the social context. Studies 3 and 4 introduce evidence of the learner-worker notion and PSE pathway choices, examine correlates and antecedents of further education and reflect on the role of agency over life course. 3. Adamuti-Trache, M. (2008). Further education pathways of Canadian university graduates. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 14(2), 147-167. 4. Adamuti-Trache, M. (under review). First four years in Canada: Post-secondary education pathways of highly educated immigrants. Manuscript submitted for publication. 1.5.3 Database characteristics The above four studies have several common grounds that contribute to the unity of the analysis of findings assembled in this dissertation. All studies are based on databases which are suitable to portray the Canadian social context (i.e., institutional structures and the social stratification) in which university graduates (Canadian-born and immigrants) built their lives in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These data help the researcher in drawing complementary perspectives on the  57 education and work dimensions of adult graduates’ lives, as well as major changes in life circumstances like marriage and parenthood. Another commonality of the studies mentioned above is that they employ secondary data analyses of large-scale databases that are representative of the population. For instance, I employed three national datasets based on surveys administered by Statistics Canada: Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS), National Graduate Survey (NGS) and Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC), as well as one provincial dataset based on surveys conducted by The University Presidents’ Council of British Columbia (for more details see Appendix A). Some of these datasets have longitudinal designs based on surveys conducted at two or three times, and thus allow the researcher to examine change over time in respondents’ labour market and further education situations. 1.5.4 Sample characteristics The four studies have a common target population – working-age adults who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. The age range and educational attainment profiles of research samples are quite similar. The EDS sample (Study 1/Chapter 2) includes respondents 25 to 64 years of age, with either a bachelor’s or a graduate degree regardless of the date when the degree was completed. The origin of highest university degree is taken into account. The NGS sample (Study 3/Chapter 4) has a similar age range and respondents obtained a bachelor’s or a graduate degree as their highest level of education, although this might not necessarily be the post-secondary credential completed in year 2000. For the LSIC sample (Study 4/Chapter 5), the age range is more restricted (25 to 49 year olds) to reflect the current immigration point-system policy that takes away points for applicants older than 49 years. The age restriction takes into account that the workforce integration of newcomers who are 50 years old or above is more difficult; as well, it is less likely that they will engage in further education, so their inclusion in the analysis would skew the results. For the LSIC respondents, all levels of university education obtained outside Canada are considered. Only the TUPC sample (Study 2/Chapter 3) that includes baccalaureate graduates has no age restriction, but respondents have very specific educational profiles in terms of level of education, date and origin of degree completed (for more details see Appendix B).  58 1.5.5 Statistical methods and research designs Statistical methods used in the four studies are adequate to the corresponding research designs. Analysis is mainly based on multivariate techniques used to exploit the complex nature of the large-scale datasets. In the first study (Chapter 2), the main analysis consists of developing an earning model that uses Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression. It also employs analysis of variance (factorial ANOVA) to compare earnings by various factors. The second study (Chapter 3) is entirely based on descriptive statistics. It makes, however, a more explicit use of the available longitudinal database by contrasting employment and further education status, as well as earnings over time. In the last two studies (Chapter 4 and 5), the main analysis consists of developing multinomial logistic regression models for choice of PSE pathways. It also employs bivariate analyses (chi-square tests of association between categorical variables) to contrast PSE pathway profiles. All studies contain some comparative designs by demographic factors (i.e., gender, age, visible minority, immigrant status), origin of education, type of academic program completed, further education pathways, or time since graduation. Research samples employed in the four studies are quite large and have diverse demographic composition that allows for interesting research designs. The selection of variables to create further education profiles (e.g., respondents who engage in a specific form of further education) is carefully designed to ensure large enough subgroups hence the analysis yields reliable results (Appendix B). However, results of the multivariate analysis need to be interpreted with caution for categories that had relatively low numbers of respondents. 1.5.6 Limitations, delimitations and issues related to the research analysis The main limitation of the dissertation consists in having to restrict the research analysis to findings included in the four studies. To address follow-up questions that may emerge naturally during the write-up of the dissertation, I perform additional analyses based on these same databases. If not possible, I specify the issues related to data availability or analysis limitations. A delimitation of my research consists in the selection of respondents who completed university education, and not all post-secondary graduates. First, not all databases employed in this research would allow for a more extensive analysis. Second, the scope of my dissertation is to address  59 issues related to highly educated workers. One reason to consider only university graduates is to ensure that the research samples contain homogenous groups of workers in terms of human and social capital who would presumably experience similar obstacles and have comparable access to opportunities. Another reason is that, in the case of recent immigrants, the sample of respondents with prior college level education was not large enough to conduct some of the analyses. A methodological issue is related to the data used to describe some of the concepts employed in the model. Most research in the area of agency is based on biographical data that reveal individuals’ perceptions of barriers and challenges raised by social structures, reflections on their journeys and strategies that they adopt to overcome some of these challenges. My research is based entirely on survey data in which I look for evidence of agency by identifying questions that target individual perceptions, dispositions, intentions and behaviours related to practice in specific fields. In support of my approach, I argue that by collecting information from large groups, the representativeness of study findings is improved. However, I acknowledge that many questions about the decision-making process cannot be answered (e.g., how a specific decision was made). Actually, Clausen (1993) pointed out that “it is important to draw on both qualitative and quantitative data if we are to understand the influences on the lives of persons who have lived through a particular slice of American history” (p.43). The author suggests that case histories give a better sense of human lives —and the manner in which individuals interpret situations that they encounter— than do statistical tables. However, a systematic testing of hypotheses emerging from the study of life histories requires statistical data. As a strategy for integrating quantitative and qualitative data for explaining continuity and change over life course, Laub and Sampson (1998) propose to first employ statistics to identify patterns and relationships among variables supporting a theoretical model; and, next, to perform a qualitative analysis of the life history records of a subset of cases to examine whether other factors explain the divergence of subjects’ behaviours compared to group characteristics. Obviously, my dissertation is limited to the first task: to examine patterns and relationships among variables, and to propose a theoretical lens through which to interpret research findings. In the concluding chapter, I will reflect on future research possibilities. Regardless of the limitation imposed by the use of survey data, I look for evidence of a bounded agency by identifying survey questions that target individual perceptions, dispositions, intentions  60 and behaviours which appear to be shaped as a response to external stimuli in fields of practice. While behavioural outcomes are clearly associated with agency (action), there is a challenge in explaining whether dispositions reflect habitus or bounded agency. To differentiate the two concepts in terms of dispositional factors, I suggest that it is possible to distinguish between embodied, internalized dispositions (habitus), which are developed over life course, and contextual, externalized dispositions, which are a response to the social context (bounded agency). I argue that the information that can be extracted from survey data gives access to the layer of externalized dispositions and can be used to operationalize agency: it could become more challenging to explain whether that information reflects habitus. For instance, recent immigrants may give a positive response about the importance of pursuing Canadian education that essentially reflects their dispositions toward continuing studies in the context of their status as newcomers. The reason behind a positive attitude toward pursuing education is contextual: the immigrant may not have a job; he/she may believe that Canadian institutions offer a good quality education; he/she may have found that education is valued in Canada. Although immigrant responses may reflect a more internalized belief of the importance of education in general that would reflect their habitus, only follow-up questions that can be posed in an interview or an examination of individual life histories would supply the missing information. Therefore, in my analysis, I will not attempt to quantify habitus. However, I maintain that both concepts are necessary in my dissertation. I will search for evidence of bounded agency in the survey data and I will only use the notion of habitus to offer some theoretical interpretations of findings. Habitus, as a generative structure of practical action, can be an important resource for immigrants who may have difficulties activating various capital assets, therefore it worth engaging the concept in this discussion. Notes 1 Starting with 1998, data reported by Canadian Immigration Citizenship were differently aggregated by source areas and could not be included in the chart. 2 Except some historical trends, I selected information based on 2001 Census data that portray the Canadian context in the period that is relevant to my study: 1997-2005.  61 1.6 References Adamuti-Trache, M. (2006). Academia and the labour market: Does field of study matter? Paper presented at XVI ISA World Congress of Sociology at Durban, South Africa, 23-29 July. Adamuti-Trache, M., Braendel, R., Long, M., & Mitchell, L. (2001). Barriers and bridges to formal learning later in life: Students' perspectives (pp.35-51). Vancouver: UBC (Center for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training). Adamuti-Trache, M., & Sweet, R. (2005). Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. Canadian Studies in Population, 32(2), 177- 201. Allen, M., Harris, S., & Butlin, G. (2003). 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Sweetman, A., & McBride, S. (2004). Postsecondary field of study and the Canadian labour market outcomes of immigrants and non-immigrants. Ottawa: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Teichler, U., & Kehm, B. M. (1995). Toward a new understanding of the relationship between higher education and employment. European Journal of Education, 30(2), 115-132.  69 Tolley, E. (2003). The skilled worker class. Selection criteria in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Metropolis Policy Brief, 1. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from Tuijnman, A. (2000). Measuring human capital: Data gaps and survey requirements. In K. Rubenson & H. G. Schuetze (Eds.), Transition to the knowledge society: Policies and strategies for individual participation and learning, (pp. 395- 410). Vancouver: UBC (Institute for European Studies). Walters, D. (2004). A comparison of the labour market outcomes of post-secondary graduates of various levels and fields over a four-cohort period. 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This resulted in a significantly higher level of educational attainment among recent immigrants as compared to those from previous immigration waves. “In 2001, 46% of immigrants aged 25 to 54 who arrived from 1996 to 2000 held at least a bachelor's degree, compared with only 23% of the same age group who arrived from 1986 to 1990” (Statistics Canada, 2003a, p.86). A selective immigration system, then, responds to Canada’s need for highly skilled workers educated to the post-secondary level. However, from a policy perspective, it not only is necessary to find and attract well-educated immigrants, it also is necessary to integrate them quickly and efficiently into the workforce in order that their skills may be effectively utilized in advancing the goals of the economy and society. The task of integration has proven more difficult than many expected. For instance, in 2001, the employment rate of 25- to 54-year-olds was only 69% among recent university-educated immigrants (i.e., those who immigrated from 1996 to 2000) as compared to 90% for native-born (Statistics Canada, 2003a). Recent immigrants with university degrees earned about 31% less than their Canadian-born counterparts, whether or not they worked in highly or lower skilled jobs. For instance, in management, “men aged 25 to 54 who immigrated during the 1990s, and held a university degree, earned between 50 and 60 cents for every dollar earned by their Canadian born counterparts” (Statistics Canada, 2003b, p.13). Employment discrepancies and earning gaps experienced by immigrants who arrived in the latest decade are maintained over longer periods of time as compared to previous waves of immigration. Whether or not this is related to changing demands of the Canadian labour market or to increased competition with an  1 A version of this chapter has been published. Adamuti-Trache, M. & Sweet, R. (2005). Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. Canadian Studies in Population, 32(2), 177-201.  71 increasingly well-educated Canadian-born population is subject to debate. The assessment of the Conference Board of Canada concludes that “Immigrants have lower incomes due to transition difficulties; insufficient working knowledge of English and French; inadequate recognition of their educational credentials; and, possibly, discrimination” (2004, p.15). On the other hand, Reitz (2000), Picot (2004) and others have pointed to the increasing levels of post-secondary participation among the native-born as a source of credential competition in the labour market. This more competitive environment then affects immigrants’ ability to negotiate the worth of their credentials when seeking employment and to gain recognition of their skills once employed. Labour market opportunities for immigrants are, however, constrained by other factors. These include not only individual differences such as language competence and relevant work experience but also social structural biases. For example, the Canadian labour market remains highly gendered as well as ethnically and racially biased. As Li (2001) observes, individual differences and social structures often combine to limit the utility of immigrants’ educational credentials. The existing research on the labour market experiences of immigrants typically examines the relationship between earnings and educational level – measured as years of schooling, or college diploma versus university degree. Among university graduates, however, the labour market value of their credentials can be evaluated along at least three dimensions: level, country of origin, and field of study (Anisef, Sweet, & Frempong, 2002). How these dimensions relate to earnings and are differentially affected by individual differences and the social organization of the labour market are issues that need further examination. The purpose of this study is to provide a more detailed assessment of the relationship between immigrant post-secondary credentials and labour market outcomes. The study employs data obtained from the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS) which sampled some 43,000 individuals who had responded to the long form of the 2001 Census, to extend and elaborate previous research that examined the relationship between the credentials and earnings of university graduates. At the same time, important individual differences and social structural variations in the labour market can be considered in qualifying this relationship. The analysis is guided by the following questions: • How do the social structures of gender and visible minority status and individual differences in language competence and work experience qualify the relationship  72 between educational (university) credentials and the earnings of immigrants and non- immigrants? • Are there differences by gender and visible minority status in immigrants’ earnings based on their educational credentials, controlling for individual differences? 2.2 Background Previous research directed toward understanding the earnings gap between immigrants and native-born Canadians, has adopted different theoretical stances. Broadly, these comprise human capital theory, social structural theory, and social capital theory. Human capital theory assumes that investment in education is rewarded by increased earnings and improved working conditions. The demands for a highly-educated workforce have raised the education premium, and university education receives particular recognition in the labour market (Baldwin & Beakstead, 2003; Lavoie & Roy, 1998). Between 1991 and 2000, university graduates registered a 3-6% lower unemployment rate and up to 50% higher average earnings as compared to all educational levels groups (Statistics Canada, 2003c; 2003d). And, in general, higher levels of education are associated with enhanced earnings (Allen, Harris, & Butlin, 2003; Finnie, 2001; Heisz, 2003; Morissette, Ostrowsky, & Picot, 2004). Human capital theory represents a useful framework within which to examine the effects of educational credentials, work experience, and language skills on labour market success. It is, however, unable to provide a comprehensive account of earnings inequalities in general and immigrant and native-born earnings differentials in particular (Li, 2003). Other social and structural characteristics of the labour market impinge on the relationship between educational credentials and earnings (Beach & Worswick, 1993; Kunz, Milan, & Schetagne, 2000). 2.2.1 Social structures Hiebert (1997), for example, argues that labour markets are never neutral and the value of an individual’s credential is distorted by gender, social class, race, and nativity.  While social structures constrain and limit the value of immigrant educational credentials there remains some scope for individual agency in the process of negotiating the worth of one’s educational credentials. Social context in this instance involves dimensions of identity, attachment and trust  73 among immigrant groups and between immigrants and members of the host society (Kunz, 2003). Anisef, Sweet, and Frempong (2002) note the possession of cultural capital is equally important. This includes familiarity with local labour market conditions and the understanding of social codes and modes of interacting in achieving job search and career advancement goals. This study is built on a human capital argument and explores the role of social structures in the negotiation of credentials in the labour market. Research that documents the experiences of immigrants in the Canadian labour market emphasizes the continuing decline in earnings of high skilled immigrants through that decade and how the earnings gap reflects the complex intersection of social structural features (Boyd, 1992; Davies & Guppy, 1998). Immigrants enter a labour market that is already gendered and systemically biased (racist). Access to and success in well-remunerated occupations is overtly or covertly controlled by social structural features (Anisef, Sweet, & Frempong, 2002; Finnie, 2001). Jobs that are worth more in the current labour market are more likely to be open to privileged social groups. For instance, in knowledge-based occupations for which the rate of growth doubled between 1971 and 1996 and wages were more competitive (e.g., professional, management and technical groups), women’s participation shows a growth factor of only 1.3 as compared to 2.3 for their male counterparts (Beakstead & Vinodrai, 2003). It is frequently argued that immigrants’ earnings in the Canadian labour market are lower than native-born Canadians because of the lower market value attached to their educational qualifications, and not necessarily due to a lack of mechanisms for the formal recognition of credentials. Li (2001) explores the market worth of foreign credentials and whether immigrants with Canadian degrees have earning parity with Canadian-born degree holders. He uses 1996 Census data and compares groups differentiated by gender, visible minority status, and nativity/age at immigration. His study suggests that gender, race, immigrant status, and type of credentials create multiple sources of inequality. These combine to marginalize some groups more than others. For example, immigrant women of visible minority origin are particularly disadvantaged. While such social structures obviously constrain immigrant integration, employers nevertheless do take into account the human capital and personal characteristics of their current and potential  74 employees. Work experience gained in the Canadian labour market and official language proficiency (English or French) are individual factors that make credentials more attractive. However, on average, immigrant graduates are less well remunerated than native-born graduates who possess equivalent educational qualifications and are unlikely to have their earnings converge with the income levels of native-born Canadians (Frenette & Morissette, 2003; Picot & Hou, 2003). Attempts to explain these disparities have met with limited success for reasons associated with the specification of the credentials themselves and an inability to identify the salient social structural factors and individual differences that qualify this relationship. 2.2.2 Individual differences    Language Competence. Immigration policies throughout the 1990’s assigned up to 24% of the point-based selection scale to language proficiency, which is perhaps essential giving the changing characteristics of recent immigrants who are less likely of being English-speaking groups. As Picot (2004) points out, the shift in source origins and home language may have contributed to the increasing earnings gap between immigrants and the native-born Canadians. Even if language barriers are essential to social and economic integration, there is no clear evidence of their relationship to education, although (English or French) language skills are more likely found among those with higher levels of education. Competence in one of Canada’s official languages as well as one (or more) other language confers all the benefits of bilingualism. Where English or French is the language of the workplace, lacking skill in either of these languages is a distinct handicap.    Work Experience. The immigration policy of 1990 assigned up to 21% of the point-based selection scale to at least 4 years of work experience in sectors recognized by the National Occupational Classification (NOC). Aydemir and Skuterud (2004) used the microdata files of the Canadian Censuses between 1981 and 2001 to look at earnings for immigrants and Canadian-born males, 18 to 54 year old, and employed on a full-year, full-time basis. Years of labour market experience were considered together with years of schooling, cohort period, years since immigration. About one-third of the overall deterioration in the entry earnings of immigrants was explained by the absence or lack of relevance of foreign labour market experience. This is more pronounced for immigrants from non-traditional source countries. Reitz  75 (2001) shows that immigrants receive lower earnings premiums for work experience as compared to Canadian born, due largely to pay inequality within occupations (i.e., difficulties ascending the earnings ladder of particular firms) rather than non-recognition of qualification entering high-skilled occupation. 2.2.3 Educational credentials Reitz (2005) recently reviewed policy issues related to credential recognition and skills under- utilization by immigrants and concluded that despite rising educational credentials among recent immigrants and high levels of fluency in one official language, immigrants’ employment and earnings continue to decline. Reitz argued that problems in the education-work relationship are caused not by the inadequate skill levels of immigrants, but rather by the way they are recognized and utilized in Canadian workplaces. Earnings trends differ by occupation and are associated with different human resource practices. Immigrants are, for example, more successful in professions where more rigorous credential-assessment practices have been implemented. Reitz nevertheless suggests that the skill-assessment process is constrained by institutional procedures that are too complex and overlapping. The author recommends institutional change to reduce and rationalize the myriad of employers, licensing bodies, unions, post-secondary institutions, and credential evaluation providers involved in the skills assessment process. While institutional changes in the recognition and utilization of immigrants’ knowledge and skills are needed, their implementation requires a better understanding of the nature of post- secondary credentials and their functioning in the Canadian labour market. To adequately discuss the education-work relationship, it is necessary to define education credentials (as assessed by employers) beyond merely the counting of ‘years of schooling’ (Ferrer & Riddell, 2004). In the case of post-secondary graduates, at least three dimensions are relevant: origin, or the country in which the degree was obtained; educational level, typically involving a distinction between college and university credential or, among university graduates, a distinction between baccalaureate and graduate degrees; and field of study, contrasting liberal arts and vocational or professional fields. Few studies have considered all three dimensions of immigrants’ credentials in predicting earnings (Anisef, Sweet, & Frempong, 2003; Sweetman & McBride, 2004).  76    Origin of education. The country in which the degree was obtained has an impact on how quickly and effectively immigrants integrate in the labour market. Thompson (2000) advances the hypothesis that if immigrants cannot find employment appropriate to their education, skills and experience this can be explained either by a lower level or quality of their education or by the partial compensation that employers give to their credentials. Although there was a substantial increase of the number of highly educated immigrants between 1990 and 1999 (45% as compared to 20%), there also was a change in the composition of immigrants by country of origin. Increasingly, immigrants came from developing nations with post-secondary systems that often possessed fewer resources. In any case, Canadian employers were reluctant to recognize their credentials. The region where one’s education was obtained matters: preferential employment is given to credentials obtained in Canada, Northern Europe and the United States.    Educational level. As indicated, most studies differentiate levels of education by years of schooling (Ferrer & Riddell, 2004). Sweetman and McBride (2004) predicted earnings by level of education as well as other features of post-secondary credentials possessed by college and university graduates. Three educational levels (college or trades certificate, Bachelor’s or Master's degree) were considered in their analysis and showed clear differences in earnings. In this study the relationship between immigrants’ earnings and their level of education paralleled that found in previous comparisons of earnings of college and university graduates conducted with non-immigrant groups (Allen, 1998).    Field of study (FOS). Few studies of credentials have considered field of study (FOS) although this gives an indication of the type of skill possessed by immigrants and their occupational preferences (Anisef, Sweet, & Frempong, 2003; Boothby, 2000; Finnie, 2001). It also allows one to understand which skills are easily transferable to the Canadian labour market; or which type of knowledge is relevant to the new Canadian knowledge economy. In Sweetman and McBride’s (2004) study, for instance, the distribution by field of study shows that female and also male Canadian-born groups are very likely to have a teaching degree while immigrants are much more likely to be in engineering and applied sciences, or in math, physical sciences and medicine: “In general, female immigrants are more likely to enter ‘traditionally male’, and higher paying, disciplines that are science or math related than are Canadian-born females” (p. 48). Their findings show that FOS explained 14% of the variance in earnings between Canadian-  77 born and immigrant groups. These results are similar to those of Anisef, Frempong, and Sweet (2002) who used earlier 1996 Census data. 2.3 Method 2.3.1 Objectives The purpose of this study is to provide a more accurate assessment of the relationship between immigrant post-secondary credentials and earnings controlling for the social structures of gender and visible minority status and individual differences in language competence and work experience. Respondents who possess a university degree (obtained in Canada or elsewhere) comprise the research sample. Fields of study are classified in liberal arts and applied following Lin, Sweet, and Anisef’s (2003) scheme. We begin the analysis by constructing separate profiles of respondents who possess university degrees. These profiles are based on gender, visible minority and immigrant vs. non-immigrant variables – the individual differences of primary interest in the study. This leads to 8 main groups for which other background, educational and employment information will be displayed. We next model the (log) earnings of immigrants and native-born using OLS regression, to assess the relative importance of structural, individual and educational factors in determining earnings for those respondents who earned income in 2001 through employment. Finally, we examine differences in immigrants’ earnings in relation to their credential origin, level, and field of study. 2.3.2 Data The data employed in the study were drawn from the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS) conducted by Statistics Canada in 2001. The EDS contains data from the 2001 Census that add information on respondents’ education and employment in 2000. The specific Census data used in this paper refer to post-secondary programs. This allows the identification of respondents’ minor and major fields of study according to Statistics Canada classification. Based on the minor fields of study, we aggregate academic programs of university degree holders into two categories: liberal arts and applied fields.2   78 2.3.3 Sample The working sample was defined based on the following criteria: • respondents who were Canadian born or landed immigrant • respondents who possess a university degree (based on EDS survey). • respondents who clearly declared their major field of study (Census survey). • respondents between 25-64 years of age (i.e., expected to be active in the labour market) • respondents who declared employment as their main source of income and reported earnings. This selection ensures that the analysis focuses on those who tested the value of their credentials in the labour market. Rescaled weights are computed from the cross-sectional survey weights to correctly estimate proportions in the population. The research sample for the analysis consisted of 5320 cases. Basic demographic characteristics of the research sample are as follows: • The proportion of women in the research sample is 48%. • It contains 28% immigrants, as compared to 21% in the EDS sample. This difference is mainly due to the larger proportion of university graduates within immigrant group. • Average age is 41 years. • Nineteen per cent of respondents declared they belonged to a visible minority group, as compared to 12% only in the whole EDS sample. 2.3.4 Variables The variables selected to build profiles and examine the basis for earnings differences are immigrant status, visible minority status, and gender. The individual difference components of the profiles comprise an index of Canadian work experience and an index of workplace language disadvantage. Age and age of arrival are typically employed as proxies for immigrants’ Canadian work experience. Because our sample was restricted to university graduates and an age range of 25-64 years, we constructed a measure of Canadian work experience that employed neither of these variables directly but rather incorporated both in an index of relevant Canadian work experience.  79 Specifically, we defined Canadian work experience as current age less 25 regardless of immigrant status, which is in agreement with other research that uses age as a proxy for work experience of university graduates. However, for immigrants older than 25, Canadian work experience is defined as the difference between their age and age at arrival. For this group, a positive association between age and work experience is not to be expected as older immigrants who have arrived relatively recently are likely to encounter considerable difficulty in securing well-paid jobs (Anisef, Sweet, & Frempong, 2003). A squared term for work experience was used in modeling earnings (Reitz, 2001). We also constructed a ‘language disadvantage scale’ that indicates whether the language at work (English or French) is different from the language spoken in the home. We assume this index describes the required degree of adjustment an individual must make to the communicative demands and, more broadly, the social conditions of the workplace. Immigrants whose home language is neither English nor French find this adjustment more difficult than those who are fluent in the language of the workplace. Complete workplace and home-language consistency is indicated by a ratio of 0; at the other extreme, a lack of proficiency in the language of workplace is indicated by 1. The different dimensions of educational credentials are indicated by origin of education – we specifically distinguish between education obtained in Canada, United States or Great Britain, Europe and Other countries. Level of education distinguishes the undergraduate from graduate degree, and field of study is categorized as either liberal arts or applied studies. 2.4 Findings We first compared the Canadian-born and immigrant groups, followed by an analysis within the immigrant groups differentiated by gender and visible minority status. Results are presented according to Statistics Canada data requirements.3 2.4.1 Profiles of Respondents In Table 2.1 we present descriptive statistics of individual difference variables across groups defined by immigrant status, visible minority status, and gender.  80 Table 2.1: Profiles of respondents by immigrant status, visible minority and gender Immigrant status Canadian Born Immigrant Visible Minority No  Yes No Yes Gender Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female INDIVIDUAL Age                           Mean                           (SD)  41 (10)  40 (9)  35 (9)  32 (7)  47 (10)  44 (9)  42 (10)  40 (9) Age at arrival                           Mean                            (SD)  NA  NA  NA  NA  23 (14)  22 (13)  27 (12)  24 (10) Language disadvantage                             N                            (%)  300 (16)  470 (26)  30 (53)  40 (54)  220  (63)  180 (65)  440 (84)  290 (85) EDUCATION Canadian Education                             N                           (%)  1770 (96)  1820 (98)  50 (90)  60 (92)  160 (46)  130 (45)  190 (37)  140 (41) Highest level             Undergraduate                            N                           (%)               Graduate                            N                          (%)   1520 (83)   320 (17)   1590 (86)   260 (14)   50 (86)   10 (16)   60 (88)   10 (14)   260 (72)   100 (28)   200 (71)   80 (29)   400 (76)   130 (24)   270 (80)   70 (20) Program type             Liberal arts                           N                         (%)             Applied                          N                         (%)   520 (28)  1320 (72)   550 (30)  1310 (71)   20 (33)  40 (67)   30 (45)  40 (55)   100 (27)  260 (73)   100 (36)  180 (64)   100 (19)  420 (81)   100 (30)  240 (70) EARNINGS                        Mean                        (SD)  74630 (61170)  49340 (32460)  69660 (60970)  43420 (23280)  76070 (54460)  48090 (43090)  54130 (42450)  39620 (27970) Research sample       (N=5320)  1840  1860  60  70  350  280  520  340  The average age of the research sample is 41, while that of Canadian-born visible minority groups is between 32 and 35. The immigrant non-minority groups average about 45 years old. Age at arrival has an average of 22 and 26, for non-minority and visible minority immigrants, respectively. The proportion of those who use different languages at home and work is quite variable, ranging from 16% for the Canadian born non-minority males to 85% for immigrant visible minority females. The educational variables selected for this analysis are: origin of highest university degree, level of highest degree and type of degree (liberal arts or applied). Canadian credentials are expected to be more readily accepted in the labour market, which, of course, benefits over 97% of the  81 Canadian-born respondents. While 46% of the non-minority immigrant groups possess Canadian education, only 38% of visible minority immigrants have this advantage, which may result from the more recent arrival of the latter group. Overall, larger proportions of immigrants (26%) as compared to the Canadian-born (16%) possess graduate degrees. The distribution of respondents across field of study is more uniform with the largest proportion of graduates of applied programs among the male visible-minority immigrants (81%) and the lowest proportion among the female non-minority immigrants (55%). The last characteristic in Table 2.1 shows the total income that respondents obtained through employment. Differences between Canadian-born and immigrants are negligible for the non- minority groups, but become quite large for visible-minority immigrants who also happen to have higher proportions of foreign educated graduates. 2.4.2 Immigrant and non-immigrant comparison of earnings We performed OLS regression analysis to predict earnings (natural log) by the set of variables previously discussed primarily to assess the effect of credentials when controlling for immigrant and visible minority status, gender, Canadian work experience, and language disadvantage. Table 2.2 shows results for the analysis of predicted earnings developed in 3 steps. The Model I summary shows that 9% of the variability in earnings is explained by individual factors, and all are statistically significant. Earnings disadvantages are associated with immigrant status, and especially with minority status and gender. Females earn significantly less than males. The language workplace advantage and Canadian work experience predictors introduced in Model II raise the explained variability in outcome to 16%. Their effects on earnings show that more years of Canadian work experience leads to increased earnings. For those speaking different languages at home and work there is a significant earnings penalty. The full model introduces the set of credentials predictors. The proportion of variability in earnings explained is slightly increased to 18%. As expected, origin of education matters indicating that foreign education is valued less in the labour market, especially if the degree was obtained in Europe or Other countries (which are primarily non-English or French speaking). Graduate degrees are better rewarded in the labour market, which may give some advantage to those immigrant groups with larger numbers of graduate degrees. Degrees in applied fields of study have a better income  82 return, which would advantage males generally but especially male immigrants. When controlled by individual and work-related variables, all three dimensions of educational credentials account for earnings. Table 2.2: Regression model Unstandardized coefficients [standard errors] Variables in the equation  Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 (Constant) Immigrant status (No=0; Yes=1) Visible minority (No=0; Yes=1) Gender (Male=0; Female=1) 11.031** [.016]   -.084*   [.029]   -.222** [.034]   -.424** [.020] 10.615** [.028]   -.021     [.030]   -.084*   [.033]   -.409** [.020] 10.511** [.032]   .039      [.035]  -.020     [.038]  -.400**  [.020] Canadian work experience (years) Squared Canadian work experience Language disadvantage (No=0; Yes=1)     .056**   [.004]   -.001**   [.000]   -.178**   [.024]   .053**  [.004] -.001**  [.000] -.159**  [.024] Origin of education  (Canada=ref)                                  USA/UK                                  Europe                                  Others Highest level of education                 (Undergrad = 0; Graduate=1) Program type (Liberal=0; Applied=1)  -.014    [.046] -.174*   [.058] -.314**  [.044]   .172**  [.026]  .133**  [.022] Model summaries & ANOVA tests R2adj = 0.089 F= 174.5 ** R2adj = 0.160 F= 169.3** R2adj = 0.179 F= 106.4 ** * p<0.05   **p<0.01 a Sample size: N=5320 While visible-minority status and to some extent immigrant status have less effect in further modeling steps, gender remains a strong predictor of earnings. And the effects of both Canadian work experience and language (dis)advantage remain stable. This is consistent with other studies of the Canadian labour market that indicate the presence of distinct gender biases. When controlled for these factors, the effect on earnings of educational credentials is modest. Nevertheless, there is sufficient variability in their relationship to earnings to indicate that the labour market experience of immigrants is influenced by features of their educational credentials. 2.4.3 Immigrant education and earnings In this section we will examine in greater detail the earnings of immigrants in relation to the three dimensions of their educational credentials. The previous analysis has shown that earnings vary by social structural factors (gender and visible-minority status) and that work and language related factors are significant determinants of earnings. Therefore, we control for work  83 experience and language competence in comparing earnings of the four immigrant groups differentiated by visible minority status and gender. Tables C1 to C3 in the Appendix C contain the observed earnings for the four immigrant groups by origin of education, educational level and field of study, and ANOVA statistics of main effects (e.g., group and origin of education).    Origin of education. Because the distribution of immigrants across the four categories of origin of education (Canada, US & UK, Europe, Other) did not have sufficient numbers in some cells (e.g. small numbers of visible-minority immigrants from Europe), for the purpose of this analysis, groups that obtained education in Europe and Other countries are aggregated. As Figure 2.1 shows, earnings for an education received in the United States or Great Britain is not significantly different than earnings for a Canadian education. Figure 2.1: Earnings ($) by origin of education (adjusted means) 30000 60000 90000 Male_non-VM Female_non-VM Male_VM Female_VM Canada US/UK Europe/Others   After adjusting for years of Canadian work experience and language advantage, the main effects of the gender-minority and origin of education factors remained significant (Table C1). This is mainly due to the male and female visible minority groups educated in non-English speaking countries who earn substantially less than those educated in Canada. While women educated in Canada have comparable earnings irrespective of minority status, differences in earnings up to 20% are noticed for men. The most advantaged immigrants in the labour market are men from non-minority groups, either educated in Canada, United States or Great Britain. The less  84 advantaged are women from visible minority groups, especially when educated in non- Anglophone countries.    Highest level of education. Observed earnings by level of university education are shown in Figure 2.2. As expected, graduate education results in significantly higher income for all groups (about 20% more). This premium is somewhat lower for visible minority women, for whom earnings obtained by those possessing undergraduate degrees are the lowest of any group. For those with graduate degrees higher earnings are achieved by all four gender and visible-minority status groups. Figure 2.2: Earnings ($) by level of education (adjusted means) 30000 60000 90000 Male_non-VM Female_non-VM Male_VM Female_VM Undergradute Graduate   After adjusting for Canadian work experience and language advantage the main effects of gender-minority and level of education factors remained significant (Table C2). While women with similar qualifications have similar earnings, irrespective of minority status, significant differences exist between the two male groups.    Field of study. Consistent with previous studies (e.g. Lin, Sweet, & Anisef, 2003) the analysis of earnings shows that applied degrees are associated with higher or equal income levels for all groups. Figure 2.3 shows earnings differences between liberal arts and applied fields are greater (about 25%) for the minority groups, both women and men. Within each field, differences by  85 gender and visible minority status are pronounced. Belonging to a visible minority group leads to lower earnings, especially for female liberal arts graduates. Figure 2.3: Earnings ($) by field of study (adjusted means) 30000 60000 90000 Male_non-VM Female_non-VM Male_VM Female_VM Liberal arts Applied   After controlling for years of Canadian work experience and language advantage, the main effects of gender-minority group and field of study factors remained significant (Table C3). On average, women have similar earnings, irrespective of minority status, but significant differences are noticed between non-minority and minority male groups. Overall, it appears that an education premium can be achieved along three dimensions, with earnings advantage resulting from either a Canadian, American or British education, and from possessing graduate degrees in applied fields. Education received in non-Anglophone countries is largely discounted, especially at the undergraduate, liberal arts field. 2.5 Summary and discussion The main finding of this paper is that social categories (gender, immigrant status and visible minority) account for the largest proportion of variation in earnings for university degrees holders. Other significant factors influencing earnings are more contextual, like years of Canadian work experience and language proficiency. When comparing Canadian born with immigrants, the negotiation of credentials in the labour market is significantly determined by origin of education, level of education and field of study. Earnings advantages are created for  86 holders of graduate degrees in applied fields who obtained their education in Canada or an English-speaking country. The typical earnings ratio of 65 cents earned by women for every dollar earned by men is observed for various groups of immigrants independent of their educational credentials. Since clear income disparities also can be observed for Canadian born women it implies that gender inequity in earnings is a persistent labour market issue; and one that is amplified for immigrant women. Foreign education is still penalized for visible minority immigrants and women. However, minority groups holding graduate and/or applied degrees approach earnings parity more readily than those with undergraduate liberal arts degrees. The ‘immigrant adjustment’ period for these individuals may be shorter. These findings nevertheless indicate that the Canadian labour market remains gendered and systemically biased. Gender, race, and ethnicity are still barriers to full economic integration. That immigrant status often intersects with these features obviously worsens individual integration opportunities. Further research is needed to separate the effects of the various sources of bias. Worswick (2004) argues that since transferability of foreign education into the Canadian labour market is not operating and work experience in the home country is not valued by Canadian employers, a Canadian immigration policy that places major emphasis on human capital needs to be revised. Tolley (2003) analyzes the research on immigration selection criteria and notes that language proficiency appears to be the most reliable determinant of economic integration. Tolley supports a shift in the Immigration policy from the human capital system toward occupation- based criteria (e.g., Australian system) and suggests that comparative research of economic outcomes of immigrants selected under different systems would be illuminating. Our findings reinforce the importance of language competence. While education is a strong factor that differentiates economic outcomes within the immigrant group, foreign education and foreign work experience, especially from non-anglophone or francophone source countries does not bring comparable earnings. It is not uncommon that immigrants are forced to abandon their previous credentials and to consider new avenues in the Canadian educational system and the labour market in order to secure stable, well-remunerated employment. Going back to school, working in jobs that do not  87 match their educational training or work experience, doing multiple jobs, and changing careers are common ways in which immigrants better their position in the Canadian labour market. Even if these pathways to economic integration are not new in the history of immigration, the fact that highly educated newcomers – who have been accepted to Canada because of their skills and education – have to follow such inefficient routes to satisfactory employment leads to an overall economic loss for both individuals and the Canadian society. The response may be a modification to the immigration selection criteria as suggested by Worswick (2004), Tolley (2003) and others. However, it may be equally useful to examine the processes of social capital acquisition and its role in engaging human capital. While the present study reveals existing and persistent earnings inequalities among highly educated immigrants, the findings also show that some groups of immigrants are quite successful in negotiating their educational credentials in the labour market, at times exceeding earnings levels of the Canadian born. Future research might usefully explore the means by which these groups engage in the social processes of job-finding and career development. Notes 2 Additional analysis at the level of major fields of study would be desirable. However, low counts for some of the design groups introduce large errors. 3 Counts are rounded to the nearest tens and proportions to the nearest unit. Means (and standard deviations) are rounded to the nearest unit, while measures of earnings are rounded to the nearest tens.  88 2.6 References Allen, M., Harris, S., & Butlin, G. (2003). Finding their way: A profile of young Canadian graduates. Catalogue no. 81-595-MIE - No. 003, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Minister of Industry. Allen, R. (1998). The employability of university graduates in the humanities, social sciences, and education: Recent statistical evidence. Discussion Paper No.98-15, Department of Economics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Anisef, P., Sweet, R., & Frempong, G. (2002). Labour market outcomes of immigrant and racial minority university graduates in Canada. Toronto: Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS). Aydemir, A., & Skuterud, M. (2004). Explaining the deterioration entry earnings of Canada’s immigrant cohorts: 1966-2000. Catalogue no. 11F0019MIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Family and Labour Studies Division. Baldwin, J. R., & Beakstead, D. (2003). Knowledge workers in Canada's economy, 1971-2001. Catalogue no. 11-624-MIE - No. 004, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Micro-economic Analysis Division. Beach, C., & Worswick, C. (1993). Is there a double negative effect on the earnings of immigrant women? Canadian Public Policy, 19(1), 36-53. Beakstead, D., & Vinodrai, T. (2003). Dimensions of occupational changes in Canada’s knowledge based economy, 1971-1996. Catalogue no. 11-622-MIE - No. 004, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Micro-economic Analysis Division. Boothby, D., (2000). Earnings differences by detailed field of study of university graduates, Research Paper R-00-1-5E, Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada and Statistics Canada. Boyd, M. (1992). Gender, visible minority and immigrant earnings inequality: reassessing an employment equity premise. In V. Satzewich (Ed.), Deconstructing a Nation: Immigration, Multiculturalism and Racism in 1990s Canada. (pp.279-321). Halifax: Fernwood Publishing & Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan. Davies, S., & Guppy. N. (1998). Race and Canadian education. In Vic Satzewich (Ed.), Racism and social inequality in Canada: Concepts, controversies and strategies of resistance. (pp.131-156). Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc. Ferrer, A., & Riddell, C. (2004). Education, credentials and immigrant earnings. Working Paper 020, Vancouver: UBC (TARGET). Finnie, R. (2001). Fields of plenty, fields of lean: The early labour market outcomes of Canadian university graduates by discipline. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 31(1), 141-176. Frenette, M., & Morissette, R. (2003). Will they ever converge? Earnings of immigrant and Canadian-born workers over the last two decades. Catalogue no. 11F0019MIE -No. 215, Ottawa: Statistics Canada.  89 Heisz, A. (2003). Relative earnings of British Columbia university graduates. Education Quarterly Review, 9(1), 35-47. Ottawa: Statistics Canada Hiebert, D. (1997). The colour of work: Labour market segmentation in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, Working Paper No. 97-02, Vancouver: Centre of Excellence Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis. Kunz, J. (2003). Being young and visible: Labour market access among immigrant and visible minority youth - final report. Applied Research Branch Paper SP-581-08-03E, Gatineau, Québec: Human Resources Development Canada. Kunz, J., Milan, A., & Schetagne, S. (2000). Unequal access: A Canadian profile of racial differences in education, employment and income. A Report Prepared for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Toronto: Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Lavoie, M., & Roy, R. (1998). Employment in the knowledge-based economy: A growth accounting exercise for Canada. Applied Research Branch Research Paper R-98-8E, Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada. Li, P.S. (2001). The market worth of immigrants’ educational credentials. Canadian Public Policy, 27(1), 23-38. Li, P.S. (2003). Destination Canada: Immigration debates and issues. Toronto: Wall and Thompson. Lin, Z., Sweet, R., & Anisef, P. (2003). Consequences and policy implications for university students who have chosen liberal or vocational education in Canada: Labour market outcomes and employability skills. Higher Education Policy, 16(1), 55-85. Morissette, R., Ostrovsky Y., & Picot, G. (2004). Relative wage patterns among the highly educated in a knowledge-based economy. Catalogue no.11F0019MIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. Picot, G., & Hou, F. (2003). The rise in low-income rates among immigrants in Canada. Catalogue no. 11F0019MIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. Picot, G. (2004). The deteriorating economic welfare of immigrants and possible causes. Catalogue no. 11F0019MIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. Reitz, J. (2000). Immigrant success in the knowledge economy: Institutional change and the immigrant experience in Canada, 1970-1995. Unpublished paper. Toronto: The University of Toronto. Reitz, J. G. (2001). Immigrant skill utilization in the Canadian labour market: Implications of human capital research. Journal of International Migration and Integration 2(3), 347– 378. Reitz, J. G. (2005). Tapping immigrants’ skills. New directions for Canadian policy in the knowledge economy. IRPP (Immigration and Refugee Policy) Choices, 11(1) (pp. 2-18). Statistics Canada (2003a). The Canadian labour market at a glance. Catalogue no. 71-222-XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Labour Statistics Division.  90 Statistics Canada (2003b). Earnings of Canadians: Making a living in the new economy. 2001 Census analysis series, Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada (2003c). Education in Canada: Raising the standard. 2001 Census analysis series, Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada (2003d). Education indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators program 2003. Catalogue no. 81-582-XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Sweetman, A., & McBride, S. (2004). Postsecondary field of study and the Canadian labour market outcomes of immigrants and non-immigrants. Ottawa: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The Conference Board of Canada (2004). Performance and potential 2004-2005: Key findings. How can Canada prosper in tomorrow’s world? Retrieved August 31, 2005, from Thompson, E. N. (2000). Immigrant occupational skill outcomes and the role of region-of- origin-specific human capital. Applied Research Branch Research Paper W-00-8E. Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada. Tolley, E. (2003). The skilled worker class. Selection criteria in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Metropolis Policy Brief, 1. Retrieved August 31, 2005, from Worswick, C. (2004). Immigrants’ declining earnings: Reasons and remedies. C. D. Howe Institute Backgrounder. Retrieved August 31, 2005, from:      91 3   THE  LABOUR  MARKET  VALUE  OF  LIBERAL  ARTS  AND APPLIED  EDUCATION  PROGRAMS:  EVIDENCE  FROM  BRITISH COLUMBIA1  3.1 Introduction As shown in the report Education in Canada: Raising the standard (Statistics Canada, 2003a), Canada has become a world leader in education. “Indeed, the 2001 Census marked the first time that a majority of the working-age population had post-secondary credentials” (p.10), and 23% of the active population were university degree holders. Over the last decade, the number of post-secondary graduates increased by 51% at the university level, 48% at the community college level, while growth in trades was only 13%. The proportion of university graduates among women aged 25 and over has grown from 14% in 1991 to 20% in 2001. Also, 2001 Census data show that among working-age university graduates, the largest proportion obtained degrees in education, engineering, business and commerce, and financial management. The orientation toward specific fields of study is due to the increased demand for related occupations in the labour market and is reflected in more stable and well rewarded jobs. Even though employment rates are high for all university graduates, there are differences by field of study. Analyses based on the National Graduates Survey of the 1990 cohort (Finnie, 2001) show that unemployment rates vary between 1% for graduates (male and female) in Engineering to 6% for graduates (male only) in Social Sciences or 8% for graduates (female only) of Fine Arts and Humanities programs. Five years after graduation, average earnings vary by field of study and gender, from $88,900 for Medical professions (male) to $31,400 for Fine Arts and Humanities (female). Finnie notes that graduates from applied fields tend to perform better on objective measures of career success (e.g., employment and earnings) as compared to those in liberal arts fields. However, since their overall evaluation of academic program and job satisfaction are rated high by graduates from liberal arts fields, Finnie concludes that more than just objective measures of labour market outcomes determine why graduates embark on specific university programs.  1 A version of this chapter has been published. Adamuti-Trache, M., Hawkey, C., Schuetze, H. G., & Glickman, V. (2006). The Labour market value of liberal arts and applied education programs: Evidence from British Columbia. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 36(2), 49-75.  92 Drawing on the field of study argument made by several authors, our study aims to discuss differences and similarities in labour market participation for liberal arts and applied education program graduates of the British Columbia Class of ’96, one and five years after graduation. We argue that professional attainment and career success need to be analyzed from a broad perspective that includes not only the objective measures of graduates’ outcomes in the labour market, but also graduates’ views about their educational and career goals. Satisfaction with their university education, as compared to their educational goals and expected economic benefits, provides an individual perspective of how students approach their involvement in post-secondary education. Rather than providing a comprehensive analysis of graduates’ labour market outcomes, this paper explores patterns of change in some relevant measures (e.g., employment status and earnings) and introduces an individual perspective to describing career attainment. 3.2 Review of literature and theoretical framework If Canadians view university as the major institution for advanced preparation of the workforce, an optimal match between university education and the requirements of the labour market increases the employability, earnings, and job satisfaction of graduates and thus maximizes their rate of return to education. If there is indeed a good match, graduates become integrated rapidly into the labour market, perform well in their jobs, and make full use of knowledge and skills accumulated during their studies (Brown, 2001a, 2001b; Heijke & Muysken, 2000). In this case, graduates have the feeling that educational goals and expectations have been reached, and their work situation can ensure full professional and social integration. As such, the efficacy of university programs fulfils both individual and societal needs. Many analysts acknowledge that occupations relying mostly on technology and requiring specialized skills and competencies are highly valued in knowledge economies (Lavoie & Roy, 1998) and are likely to be rewarding for individuals. However, Davenport (2002) draws attention to the fact that “Canadian companies are looking for graduates with the ability to communicate clearly both orally and verbally, work effectively in teams, think critically and creatively, solve problems, and exercise leadership” (p.46). Graham (2002) points out that the notion of “wealth creation” grants the privilege of usefulness to applied activities, although “all serious intellectual inquiry can be declared valuable in terms of wealth-creation” (p.29). This broader definition of  93 wealth creation becomes even more valid in knowledge-based economies. Axelrod (2002) maintains that workers are expected now to be problem solvers in addition to possessing specific skills and competencies. He acknowledges that a market-driven economy will continuously favour the development and expansion of vocational programs that can immediately respond to the demands of a global economy. However, the liberal education tradition that contributes to the well-rounded preparation of graduates should be enhanced through the development of stronger general education programs offered to all university students, since “the university must not be permitted to raze its own intellectual and cultural foundations” (Axelrod, Anisef, & Lin, 2001, p.76). The transition from higher education to the labour market is a major challenge for graduates, post-secondary institutions, and the labour market itself. In the end, the success of this transition stage depends on the employability of graduates. Brown, Hesketh, and Williams (2003) view the employability of graduates from a dual perspective. Its absolute dimension refers to skills and knowledge that graduates possess and are able to utilize to meet employers’ requirements. From a relative perspective, “our definition of employability has recognised that it is possible to be employable but not be in employment. This is intended to highlight the fact that graduate employability is primarily about the relative chances of finding and maintaining jobs as knowledge workers” (p.122). The law of supply and demand for jobs within the labour market, the specificity of credentials possessed by graduates, as well as opportunities for further education, determine the patterns of employment and school participation among graduates. The authors show that the ability of graduates to capitalize on their credentials by obtaining a good “ranking” in the labour market has to be viewed in conjunction with the “rigging” of the market for credentials. Pitcher and Purcell (1998) explored the graduate labour market by interviewing UK final year undergraduate students in various fields to determine what expectations graduates-to-be have about future employment. The authors found that more than one third of students, especially male students, were confident and willing to move directly into employment related to their longer-term careers. Authors note that this pragmatic tendency was higher among students from vocational programs. Meanwhile, those from liberal arts education programs anticipated temporary jobs, although higher proportions of these respondents were already enrolled in  94 further studies at the graduate level as a means of raising their qualifications and increasing employability. Pragmatic attitudes toward employment were also manifested by mature students who seemed to have more instrumental employment-related reasons to complete university degrees. Maslove, Fischer, and O’Heron (1998) indicate that mature students may benefit from additional work experience accumulated before or during studies that leads to a more profitable use of their bachelor degrees. Lin, Sweet, Anisef, and Schuetze (2000) suggest that transition success in the labour market is related to the type of university program. They analyze how employability skills possessed, acquired, and utilized are rated by graduates and to what extent they appear to be translated into better employment. Significant differences between the liberal arts and vocational education graduates are found only in terms of skills utilization. Lin, Sweet, and Anisef (2003) advanced two possible explanations: “workplace affords liberal graduates few opportunities to engage their skills” or “employers fail to make the best use of talents possessed by liberal graduates” (p.73). Their findings suggest that possession of a university credential is not by itself a passport to stable and well-rewarded employment and the choice of field of study is risky. This study is in agreement with the theoretical framework developed by Brown et al. (2003) that describes graduate employability as a relative notion, which is shaped by concrete circumstances in the labour market. Yet, researchers need to explore more thoroughly the reasons why liberal education graduates are more vulnerable to labour market’s fluctuations and for how long after university graduation they appear to hold less secure jobs than do graduates from applied programs. In Canada, the National Graduate Surveys (NGS) conducted by Statistics Canada is an important database of labour market outcomes for several cohorts of post-secondary graduates. The existing follow-up surveys carried out two and five years after graduation are suited for longitudinal analysis. Comparisons of outcomes among cohorts also permit the analysis of results within the context of changing conditions in the labour market. Several educational studies addressing the topic of labour market outcomes, university accountability, and post- secondary graduates’ profiles have been based on an analysis of NGS data (Allen, Harris, & Butlin, 2003; Finnie, 2001; Lin et al., 2000; Lin et al., 2003). For instance, Allen et al. (2003) present a favourable profile of young Canadian graduates who went straight from high school to  95 post-secondary education. The authors compare the labour market outcomes and transition to work for bachelor and community college graduates of the 1995 cohort to the outcomes of previous cohorts of graduates. They show that community college and especially university education pays off in long-term dividends leading to a better chance for non-university graduates to secure permanent employment, and for university graduates to find jobs matched to their level of education and receive better earnings. Finnie (2001) shows that unemployment rates of university graduates of the 1990 cohort decrease over time. Their jobs appear to follow quite stable patterns, with large proportions of full-time employment and good job-to-education matching. However, the above studies show that there are differences in earnings by gender and field of study. Even if, in some fields, women’s wages have shown dramatic increases over the years (Easton, 2002; Finnie, 2001), in all fields, women’s earnings are behind those of their male colleagues. For both community college and university graduates, the best paid disciplines are engineering and applied sciences, while arts and humanities are situated at the lower end of the scale (Allen et al., 2003; Finnie, 2001). Research consistently shows that professional occupations that require applied education, like engineering, health, law, business and commerce, lead to higher incomes than most arts and science occupations based on a liberal education (Lin et al., 2000). Similarly, in a study of labour market outcomes comparing Canadian born with immigrants, Adamuti-Trache and Sweet (2005) demonstrate that “the negotiation of credentials in the labour market is significantly determined by origin of education, level of education and field of study. Earnings advantages are created for holders of graduate degrees in applied fields who obtained their education in Canada or an English-speaking country” (p.194). This earnings difference fuels debate over the value and usefulness of applied (vocational) versus liberal traditions in education. Axelrod (2002) argues that “obtaining a job and earning a reasonable income is, of course, a significant part of this [labour market] experience. So, too, is being inquisitive, informed, and engaged in the life of the mind and of one’s community” (p.85). Individuals recognize that often intellectual rewards have compensatory effects in less financially rewarding occupations. However, from a societal, pragmatic perspective, large differences in income between fields can create an imbalance in the optimal production and  96 utilization of human capital. The tendency among BC high school graduates to enrol in academic programs that can lead to high-income occupations is evident in the higher admission grade requirements for engineering, science, business and commerce programs, as compared to arts. Further, for science undergraduates, the competition for admission to medical school is higher than the competition for majors in the natural sciences. The existing situation of graduates’ earnings in the labour market influences the young generation of university students who strive for the opportunity to train in those occupations that appear to be more secure and better rewarded financially. 3.3 Data collection and research design In addition to the National Graduate Surveys conducted by Statistics Canada, several provinces conduct their own graduate surveys. One example is the survey of baccalaureate graduates from British Columbia's public universities conducted by The University Presidents’ Council of British Columbia (TUPC). Another example is the census survey of university graduates conducted every two years province-wide across Québec by Ministère de l’Éducation (2003). The annual TUPC surveys of baccalaureate graduates of BC public universities allow for a comprehensive and accurate study of BC university graduates. Since 1995, follow-up surveys have been administered one and five years after graduation. These surveys contain information on post-secondary academic programs and completed degrees. Graduates answer questions about their educational and career aspirations and expectations, post-secondary educational attainment, as well as attitudes toward and beliefs about education and work. They express their level of satisfaction with the education received and comment on programs, course availability, and skills development. Also, graduates describe their current employment status, occupation and earnings, and the extent to which their education relates to job demands. As shown by earlier analyses on the BC University Baccalaureate Graduate Surveys (Hawkey & Lee, 1999; Sudmant, Greenall, Lambert-Maberly, & Dumaresq, 2003), most graduates regard their integration into the labour market as a gradual process, combining work with the search for better jobs while pursuing additional education. Field of study appears to be a significant factor in determining employment rates and salaries. Graduates from applied fields perform better in  97 the labour market than those from liberal arts programs, although a comparison between the two- year and five-year follow-ups reveals an increase of earnings for all graduates. The current paper entails the use of data from the 1997 and 2001 surveys of 1996 graduates of the three major public universities in British Columbia.2 The analysis covers baccalaureate graduates from The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria who clearly indicated their program of study and type of degree. Since the University of Northern BC was only founded in the early 1990s, and had a small number of graduates in 1996 and a limited number of academic programs, it was omitted from this study. The fifth university in BC, Royal Roads University, was established in 1995 and did not have any graduates at the time of the surveys. In this paper, we look at outcomes of undergraduate university education distinguishing between liberal arts and applied programs. The study addresses the following research questions: • What is the employment situation of graduates from liberal arts and applied programs one year and five years after graduation? How well does each group fare in the labour market in terms of employment and income? Are they enrolled in further education? • How do liberal arts education graduates define their initial educational goals and university expectations in comparison to graduates of applied programs? • Are there gender and age differences in graduates’ labour market outcomes? Do these group differences change over time? The three established universities offer a large number of academic programs, which are grouped in the TUPC database according to the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) coding scheme (Table 3.1). For the purpose of this study, academic programs are aggregated into liberal arts and applied programs following the work of Lin et al. (2000), which was done at the level of each individual academic program based on academic curriculum.3 Liberal arts programs are mostly arts and science, while applied programs include professional fields like education, engineering, health, law and business. This paper focuses on a longitudinal analysis of various measures of graduates’ labour market outcomes,4 as well as graduates’ views of university  98 education as reflected by their educational goals and the reasons for enrolling in further education, reported one and five years after graduation. 3.3.1 Research sample The longitudinal research sample was obtained by merging data collected from two follow-up surveys (1997 and 2001). For each survey, attempts were made to reach all 8,613 graduates identified for surveying, with a response rate of 72% in 1997 and 63% in 2001 (Hawkey & Lee, 1999; Sudmant et al., 2003). The longitudinal sample that includes only those who answered both surveys has 4,065 respondents, representing about 47% of the 1996 graduates of the Class of ’96. The 1997 and 2001 sample distributions by institution, gender, age, and type of program are very similar to the longitudinal sample, which indicates a stability of the demographic composition of samples over time.  Table 3.1: Distribution of research sample by type of program and gender Type of Program a       Program (CIP) Male Female All   N % N % N % Liberal Arts programs Fine Arts 39 5 100 8 139 7  Social Sciences 379 49 602 47 981 47  Humanities 102 13 369 29 471 23  Life Sciences 178 23 181 14 359 17  Physical Sciences 84 11 44 3 128 6  Total 782 100 1296 100 2078 100  Applied programs Computing Science 71 9 15 1 86 4  Engineering 149 19 29 2 178 9  Education 187 24 543 45 730 37  Law 46 6 34 3 80 4  Health Professions 43 6 225 19 268 14  Fitness, Kinesiology 59 8 68 6 127 6  Business 157 20 124 10 281 14  Natural Resources 44 6 33 3 77 4  Social Sciences b 12 2 99 8 111 6  Humanities b 7 1 17 1 24 1  Life Sciences b 5 1 20 2 25 1  Total 780 100 1207 100 1987 100  Total research sample 1562 2503 4065  a  Classification by type of program follows the methodology of Lin et al. (2000)   b See Note 2.  99 As shown in Table 3.1, the sample has a larger proportion of women (62%) than men (38%), and an almost even distribution of graduates in liberal arts programs (51%) and applied programs (49%). Within the liberal arts programs, the largest group was enrolled in Social Sciences (47%), followed by the Humanities (23%) and the Life Sciences (17%), while fewer students were enrolled in Fine Arts (7%) and Physical Sciences (6%). There is an overrepresentation of men in Life and Physical Sciences (34% men as compared to 17% women), and of women in the Humanities (29% women as compared to 13% men). Within applied education programs, the largest group was enrolled in Education (37%), followed by Business (14%), Health (14%) and Engineering (9%), while the remaining fields enrolled about 26% graduates. There is an overrepresentation of men in Engineering (19% men as compared to 2% women) and Business (20% men as compared to 10% women), while women are overrepresented in Education (45% women as compared to 24% men) and Health (19% women as compared to 6% men). Table 3.2 presents the sample distribution by gender and age at the time of graduation, for liberal arts and applied programs. The average age of the sample was approximately 28 due to the large proportion (56%) of non-traditional graduates (25 years of age or older). It is also noticeable that the age patterns are largely different by type of program, with more traditional age students (less than 25 years old) in liberal arts programs (52%) compared to applied programs (36%). The age difference can be explained in part because applied programs such as law or education require the completion of a bachelor degree, or several years of undergraduate instruction prior to the professional program. Although it is problematic to equate longer programs with more education, one can expect that graduates of professional programs will benefit from better employment outcomes (Walters, 2004). Table 3.2: Distribution of research sample by type of program, gender and age  Liberal Arts programs Applied programs Age groups Male Female All Male Female All  N % N % N % N % N % N % 24 or less 392 50 695 54 1087 52 286 37 424 35 710 36 Between 25-29 288 37 352 27 640 31 335 43 403 33 738 37 Between 30-39 67 9 129 10 196 9 104 13 201 17 305 15 40+ 35 5 120 9 155 8 55 7 179 15 234 12  Total 782 1296 2078  780 1207 1987   100 Within each type of program, the age distribution is different by gender, especially for older age groups. For the liberal arts programs, a slightly larger participation rate of women over 40 is noticeable. This is accentuated for the applied programs, in which 32% of female graduates are over 30 years old and 15% of women are over 40 at the time of graduation. Higher university participation rates by women over 40 at the time of graduation may be explained by the fact that women are more likely to study part-time or return to study after having raised children, thereby taking longer to graduate (Andres & Carpenter, 1997). In Table 3.2, the four age groups with at least 5% representation were presented in order to draw attention to the age diversity of the student body. In the following analysis, the latter three groups are aggregated, and we will only distinguish between traditional (less than 25 years old at the time of graduation) and non- traditional (25 years of age or older) baccalaureate graduates. 3.4 Study findings First, we present longitudinal findings on labour market outcomes (employment and earnings) by program type, gender, and age. In defining the current status of graduates, we consider both employment situation and participation in formal education. Next, we contrast educational goals and goal attainment as described one year after graduation by type of program and age. Finally, we compare graduates’ views about continuing further education by type of program. 3.4.1 Transition from school to work and continuing studies over time The survey data show complex patterns of employment and participation in further education.5 Graduates were employed full-time or part-time, or were not-employed, while continuing or not continuing various forms of study (hereafter referred to as ‘school’ 6). Graduates who gave clear answers regarding their employment and continuing education were included for this part of the analysis (N=3,990), and classified under six employment-school categories. In Appendix D, we present detailed distributions of graduates across employment and school status categories by type of program, age and gender in Table D1 (one year after graduation) and Table D2 (five years after graduation). Elements of these two tables will be used to demonstrate differences in employment and school status by type of program (Table 3.3), gender (Table 3.4), and age (Table 3.5) at both survey times and to compare changes over the years.  101    Employment status by type of program. As Table 3.3 shows, larger proportions of graduates from applied programs (over 90%) compared to liberal arts programs (76% in 1997 and 84% in 2001) were employed. The proportion of graduates continuing their education (either while employed or not-employed) was 42% for liberal arts graduates and only 17% for graduates from applied programs in 1997, indicating that the former sought additional qualifications beyond their first degrees. Meanwhile, more graduates from applied programs (80% versus 53% from liberal arts programs) were employed, full-time or part-time, and not enrolled in formal education in 1997. These differences are attenuated in 2001, when the number of graduates from applied programs enrolled in various forms of further education increased (from 17% to 25%) and the proportion of those employed and not in school decreased from 80% to 69%. By comparison, the proportion of liberal arts graduates employed and not in school increased from 53% to 59%. Whereas graduates from applied programs participated in the labour market sooner but returned in greater numbers to further education within five years after graduation, liberal arts graduates continued their education for longer periods of time and integrated later into the labour market. This is consistent with Giles (2002) who demonstrated that even if holders of liberal arts degrees have more difficulty with school-to-work transition in terms of employment, skills they accumulated have a “greater longevity.” There are noteworthy differences among graduates who were not in the labour market and were not going to school (the not-employed groups). In this category, the proportion of liberal arts graduates remained steady (6% in 1997 and 7% in 2001), while the proportion of graduates from applied programs increased from 3% in 1997 to 6% in 2001. For the latter group, the increase was due to female respondents 25 years of age or older at the time of graduation. Over 60% of not-employed women in this age group reported they were not in the labour market for family reasons (maternity leave, caring for children, family obligations). Therefore, the large proportions of graduates not-employed and not in school do not correspond to involuntary unemployment rates. In 2001, the unemployment rate (due to layoffs, losing or quitting a job, not finding a job) was about 3% for liberal arts graduates and 2% for applied programs graduates.  102  Table 3.3: Employment status and participation in further education by type of program One year after graduation   Five years after graduation Employment and education categories Liberal Arts Applied All  Liberal Arts Applied All  N % N % N %  N % N % N % FT employ & No School 803 40 1181 60 1984 50  1043 51 1211 61 2254 56 PT employ & No School 258 13 381 20 639 16  167 8 147 8 314 8 FT employ & School 220 11 150 8 370 9  380 19 376 19 756 19 PT employ & School 273 13 101 5 374 9  129 6 50 3 179 4 Not-employed & School 366 18 81 4 447 11  177 9 56 3 233 6 Not-employed & No School 115 6 61 3 176 4  139 7 115 6 254 6 Total 2035 100 1955 100 3990 100  2035 100 1955 100 3990 100   Table 3.4: Employment status and participation in further education by gender One year after graduation   Five years after graduation Employment and education categories Male Female All  Male Female All  N % N % N %  N % N % N % FT employ & No School 865 56 1119 46 1984 50  969 63 1285 53 2254 56 PT employ & No School 142 9 497 20 639 16  56 4 258 11 314 8 FT employ & School 151 10 219 9 370 9  297 19 459 19 756 19 PT employ & School 128 8 246 10 374 9  51 3 128 5 179 4 Not-employed & School 198 13 249 10 447 11  113 7 120 5 233 6 Not-employed & No School 61 4 115 5 176 4  59 4 195 8 254 6 Total 1545 100 2445 100 3990 100  1545 100 2445 100 3990 100   103    Gender differences in employment. Although women and men had comparable rates of employment, men were more likely than women to hold full-time jobs (Table 3.4). In 1997, 66% of men and 55% of women had full-time jobs, while in 2001, 82% of men and 72% of women were employed in full-time positions. At both survey times, there were insignificant gender differences in the group continuing with formal education or in the not employed group. Survey responses showed that while non-participation by women in the labour market was mostly explained by family obligations, larger proportions of men (over 50%) than women (about 20%) did not work in 2001 due to layoffs, losing, or quitting a job or not finding a job.    Age differences in employment. Since there is a noticeable relationship between age of respondents and the type of program from which they graduate (i.e., 53% of graduates in liberal arts programs were under 25 years of age, only 36% of graduates from applied programs were in this group), age differences in employment-school status follow the patterns of differences by program type. As a result, the younger group showed a delayed but growing integration in the labour market and large participation in further education that decreased over time. The older group showed immediate integration in the labour market and steady and slight increase in participation in further education. Giles (2002) used the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics to analyze the duration of unemployment for university graduates in liberal arts and applied programs. He found that young graduates in the humanities and social sciences had a more “difficult transition into the labour market than their applied programs counterparts” (p.22). There are differences between Giles’s classification of programs and the one used in our study: we include education among applied programs but keep biological and physical sciences among liberal arts programs. Regardless, our data also show that age combined with type of program make the younger graduates in liberal arts programs appear less integrated into the labour market, essentially due to the fact that large proportions of liberal arts graduates continue their studies. However, our longitudinal data allow us to determine whether age differences are maintained over time.  104  Table 3.5: Employment status and participation in further education by age groups One year after graduation   Five years after graduation Employment and education categories Age < 25 Age > 25 All  Age < 25 Age > 25 All  N % N % N %  N % N % N % FT employ & No School 808 46 1176 53 1984 50  985 56 1269 57 2254 56 PT employ & No School 214 12 425 19 639 16  103 6 211 10 314 8 FT employ & School 195 11 175 8 370 9  371 21 385 17 756 19 PT employ & School 202 11 172 10 374 9  92 5 87 4 179 4 Not-employed & School 281 16 166 7 447 11  138 8 95 4 233 6 Not-employed & No School 74 4 102 5 176 4  85 5 169 8 254 6 Total 1774 100 2216 100 3990 100  1774 100 2216 100 3990 100    105 Table 3.5 shows that one year after graduation, the younger group was slightly less likely to be employed in a full-time job (57%) compared to the older group (61%). This situation was reversed five years after graduation, when 77% of the younger respondents as compared to 74% of the older respondents held full-time jobs. Overall, the proportion of the not-employed group was constant over time for the older group (12%), while decreasing from 20% to 13% for the younger group. Proportions of those attending school were not very different over time: in 1997, about 38% of the younger graduates as compared to 25% of the older graduates were involved in some type of continuing education. In 2001, the younger group decreased its school participation to 34% while the older group continued education in an unchanged proportion of 25%. It is interesting to note the large proportion (17%) of the older respondents who continued their education while holding full-time jobs. Overall, five years after graduation, differences by age in the three categories (employment, not-employment and school participation) were diminished.    Earnings. To compare median incomes over time, we consider only respondents who worked full-time and were not participating in further education. The 1997 reported total income was converted to 2001 dollars. As reported in Table 3.6, graduates increased their median earnings by more than 23% over five years, which suggests that more graduates moved into better paying jobs as a result of increased credentials or experience. Table 3.6: Median income by type program, age and gender over time a One year after graduation Five years after graduation Age <25 Age >25 Age <25 Age >25   Type of program  Male Femal Male Femal Male Femal Male Femal Liberal Arts programs Time*Age*Gender 31,500 31,500 37,800 35,700 47,000 41,700 46,000 42,700     Time*Age  31,500 36,800 43,000 44,000 Time 33,600 43,200 Applied programs Time*Age*Gender 42,000 36,800 42,000 38,900 60,000 45,000 55,000 47,000     Time*Age  37,800 39,900 51,500 50,000 Time 39,900 50,000  All programs  37,800  46,700 a Income is provided in 2001 BC dollars. There are significant income differences among age and gender groups at each moment in time. For instance, one year after graduation, older graduates obtained significantly higher incomes   106 than younger graduates, namely 17% and 6% for the liberal arts and applied programs graduates, respectively. Five years after graduation, this difference was only about 2% for liberal arts programs graduates, and was reversed for graduates of applied programs with younger graduates earning more. We can conclude that age is not the most relevant factor regarding income: five years after graduation, median income of all graduates working full-time and not attending formal studies is very homogeneous across age groups. Gender differences are visible in a number of areas. One year after graduation, men earned more than women: these differences were as large as 14% for the graduates from applied programs for those less than 25 years of age, while female and male liberal arts graduates, irrespective of age, had more comparable incomes. Five years after graduation, gender differences in median income became even more pronounced across all program types and age groups, and were as high as 8% and 13% for the older and younger liberal arts graduates, respectively, and up to 17% and 33% for the older and younger graduates from applied programs, respectively. We conclude that gender remains a systemic factor differentiating respondents’ median income over time. Our findings are in agreement with Finnie’s study (2001) that shows that gender earnings gap is likely to grow over time. 3.4.2 Educational goals and further education In the previous section we presented the profiles of British Columbia university graduates of the Class of ‘96 from a labour market perspective. As shown, the type of program from which respondents graduated, combined with age and gender, have large impacts on their employment status, participation in further education, non-employment rates, and earnings. The question we address in this section is whether differences observed in the labour market between graduates from liberal arts and applied programs are a reflection of individual attitudes toward education and work. Two measures are available for analysis. One year after graduation, graduates indicated their initial educational goals when they started the baccalaureate degree and the extent to which their goals were attained. Five years after graduation, graduates reported the reason to be enrolled at that time in further education and where did they enrol.   107      Educational goals in 1997. Multiple answers were recoded into three major goal groups: job-oriented goals (getting a better job, acquiring job skills), general goals (obtaining a baccalaureate degree, qualifying for a graduate program, broadening knowledge), less defined goals (pleasing parents/family, having no explicit personal goal). Since the focus of this study is to find how well graduates are prepared to succeed in the labour market, when multiple answers occurred (about 25% of the sample), priority was given to the job-oriented goals. Table 3.7 shows the distribution of initial educational goals and level of goals attainment as reported in 1997 by program type and age. Gender differences are less significant and are not presented. As expected, graduates of applied programs had more job-oriented goals (70%) when deciding to pursue university education as compared to liberal arts graduates (50%) who expressed a higher interest in broadening knowledge in a specific field. Not unexpectedly, students wanted to acquire skills that would lead to employment and more than two thirds of all graduates felt they attained their goals. About 13% and 8% of liberal arts graduates and graduates from applied programs, respectively, had no clear goals about university education. A large proportion of graduates from applied programs (79%) felt that their goals had been completely or mostly attained, while only 63% of liberal arts graduates felt the same. There are no significant age differences in setting educational goals, although older graduates had more job-oriented goals. Only 66% of the younger graduates felt they attained their goals in comparison to 75% of the older graduates. Table 3.7: Initial educational goals & goals attainment one year after graduation  Liberal Arts programs Applied programs Age <25 Age > 25 All Age <25 Age > 25 All % % % % % % 50 51 50 65 72 70 36 38 37 27 21 23   Job oriented goals General goals Less defined goals 14 11 13 9 7 8  Goals attainment (mostly or completely)    60 65 63 73 82 79      Reasons to participate in formal education within five years after graduation. The employment and school profiles presented in Table 3.3 suggest that for large numbers of respondents formal education continued after completing undergraduate university education.   108 Overall, about 30% of all respondents in the sample indicated they enrolled in some form of education one year after graduation, and about 29% were enrolled in further education five years after graduation. Increased participation in further education between 1997 and 2001 was observed for graduates from applied programs. Five years after receiving a baccalaureate degree, about 25% of these graduates continued with some form of further education, this rate increasing from 17% in 1997. The reverse phenomenon was observed for the liberal arts programs graduates; the proportion enrolled in formal education was larger in 1997 (almost 42%) and decreased to 34% four years later. Where and why were respondents enrolled in further education? Within five years after graduating with a baccalaureate degree, almost 90% of graduates took some additional education or training. About 10% of graduates indicated more than one form of education or training, but for the purpose of this paper we analyzed only the main response and only by type of program. Table 3.8 shows that, for both groups, but especially for the applied programs graduates, the most frequently identified reason to continue education and training was career and employment related. Other reasons were to continue to further degree studies, and to experience intellectual challenges. Pursuing a new bachelor degree appeared to be a reason for liberal arts graduates, who were also substantially enrolled in graduate studies. Table 3.8: Further education and training (five years after graduation) Main reason to enrol in further education and where? Liberal Arts programs Applied programs N % N % Reason Pursue another Bachelor degree 173 9 57 3  Pursue Masters studies 218 12 181 10  Pursue Doctoral studies 77 4 18 1  Career/job/employment related 1103 58 1149 65  Challenge myself intellectually 153 8 162 9  Required by employer 41 2 66 4  Other 120 6 115 7 Where University 1117 59 669 38  College, university college, institutes 384 20 253 14  Private institutions 119 6 157 9  Professional associations 91 5 245 14  Employer 107 6 333 19    109 Respondents were most likely to engage in further education at the university level (49%), with the largest enrolment coming from liberal arts programs graduates. As shown in Table 3.8, community colleges and other public post-secondary institutions were a second preferred option (or perhaps sole opportunity) for liberal arts graduates (20% versus 14% for applied programs), while graduates from applied programs also enrolled in training offered by employer, professional associations and private training institutions (42% versus 17% for liberal arts programs). 3.5 Discussion of findings There is a net change in the labour market outcomes (i.e., employment status and earnings) of baccalaureate graduates of the Class of ’96 over the years, with large differences by the type of program, and less influence of age and gender. About one third of graduates continued to be involved in formal education at both survey times, a result that supports previous findings that job demands become more dynamic in the knowledge-based economy and require frequent updating, adaptation, and continual learning (Rubenson & Schuetze, 2000; Schuetze, 2000). There were larger proportions of graduates from applied programs who were employed and not in school at both survey times. This gap decreased over time since liberal arts graduates, who continued studies since 1996 in large proportion, finished their education, while a large number of graduates from applied programs pursued further education after 1996. The unemployment rate in 2001 (layoffs, losing or quitting jobs, not finding jobs) was about 3% for liberal arts graduates and 2% for graduates from applied programs. These rates are slightly below the British Columbia rate of unemployment for university graduates (4%) in 2000 (Statistics Canada, 2003b). Men are more likely than women to hold full-time instead of part-time jobs at both survey times, and this finding is in agreement with Finnie’s analysis (2001) of the NGS 1990 cohort. While female graduates from the 1990 cohort show a steady rate of part-time employment over time, in the case of the BC Class of ’96, the rate of part-time employment among women is clearly decreasing and follows similar patterns to that of their male counterparts.   110 The distribution of graduates by age groups matches their distribution by type of program, since most young respondents were holders of liberal arts degrees (53%) rather than applied degrees (36%). Consequently, the proportion of full-time employed who did not participate in further studies was visibly higher for older graduates as compared to young graduates. Young graduates were also more likely to be unemployed, since in their case, reasons for not working were more related to difficulty in finding jobs. However, age differences were not as significant for this sample as emphasized in the literature (Maslove et al., 1998). Graduates’ earnings and income differences by program of study, gender and age were the most discussed labour market outcomes (Allen et al., 2003; Finnie, 2001; Giles, 2002; Heisz, 2003; Maslove et al., 1998; Walters, 2004) obtained using either cross-sectional or longitudinal samples of NGS surveys. For the BC Class of ’96, study findings showed a quite promising overall increase of 23% in median earnings in 2001 as compared to 1997; yet, income levels indicated large discrepancies by type of program, gender and somehow age at both survey times. There was a consistent difference in earnings between the liberal arts and graduates from applied programs in our study. The salary gap decreased from 1997 to 2001, but only from 19% to 16%, which suggests that with this rate of change, it would take another 15 years to reach equal levels. Similarly, Heisz (2003) looks at the earnings’ distribution of BC university graduates from the cohorts of 1974 through 1996 and identifies the applied degrees of engineering, medical sciences, and commerce at the top of median earnings, and liberal arts degrees like fine arts and humanities at the bottom of the distribution. However, Heisz concluded that predicted median earnings by field of study tend to equalize eventually. He also notices that most graduates do not earn the average earnings associated with their field of study and recommends comparing the distribution of earnings instead of median values. The TUPC sample used in our study contains a number of liberal arts graduates who earned much more than the median earning of the group, but still they represent exceptions. Median earnings give a good indication of the amount earned by each group, and differences by type of program were still significantly large five years after graduation. It is reasonable to expect that different university programs result in differences in future earnings. University programs provide different skills and competences to students that may   111 respond more or less effectively to employers’ needs (Brown, 2001a, 2001b; Davenport, 2002; Lin, Sweet, & Anisef, 2003). Many applied programs are longer than liberal arts programs and this may lead to the assumption that “more education” deserves better financial reward. As pointed out by Walters (2004), differences in labour market outcomes are possibly related to a selection effect and a “gate-keeping” mechanism that allows some university programs to “raise the average wage and employment levels of their graduates simply by keeping their enrolment numbers low” (p.21). Discrepancy in labour market outcomes by field of study could be determined by various educational, social, political and economic factors, and this issue requires a complex analysis which is beyond the scope of this paper. Rather than making judgments regarding the economic returns on education in absolute terms for various fields of study, we used the available longitudinal data to present patterns of change in labour market outcomes. Gender differences show consistently that men are better paid than women in similar employment situations. One year after graduation, differences as large as 14% were observed for the graduates from applied program age 24 or less. In 2001, the salary gap was even larger, reaching up to 33% differences for the same group. Not only did male salaries start at higher levels, but they experienced a larger rate of growth that, as Finnie (2001) also noted, expanded the gender salary gap. As shown by Allen et al. (2003) the labour market climate has changed dramatically during the last two decades and this has had a large impact on unemployment rates of young adults and consequently on earnings. Their findings emphasized that the younger graduates, less than 25 years old, experienced the largest labour market transition difficulties. Maslove et al. (1998) also point out that younger graduates have to compete for jobs with older cohorts who have both credentials and work experience. Our findings demonstrate that age differences in earnings were visible in 1997, showing that older graduates have an advantage in finding more stable work and receiving higher incomes. These differences become less significant over time. In 2001, the higher income earned by males under the age of 25 as compared to their older colleagues in both liberal arts and applied programs, suggests that the labour market competition between young and older university graduates is not necessarily unfair as pointed by Maslove et al.   112 Our study findings show that graduates from applied program, who were more successful in obtaining higher labour market outcomes, had also been more job-oriented in setting these specific educational goals. By contrast, the liberal arts graduates showed a different pattern of goal setting. One year after graduation, their level of satisfaction with goals attainment was lower than for applied programs graduates, either because graduates were still negotiating their career opportunities or because their educational goals have not yet been attained in 1997. 3.6 Conclusion The aim of this paper was to look solely at the economic integration of graduates in the labour market and the optimal capitalization of their university education. Graduates from liberal arts and applied programs are expected to confront the reality of a labour market where the measure of success consists in securing a stable job and attaining career satisfaction. In regard to preparing graduates for realities of the labour market, the university is less successful in the case of liberal arts graduates, who experience delayed integration and professional recognition. In contrast, labour market outcomes like employment status and income point toward a net advantage of being a graduate of an applied program. Over time, differences in labour market outcomes between liberal arts graduates and graduates from applied programs appear to diminish, since liberal arts graduates find more pragmatic ways to capitalize on their education. There is a need for more longitudinal research in order to understand how this happens and how competences developed through a liberal arts tradition are transformed into success in the labour market. Additional research will also shed more light on the aspirations and dispositions of those who choose to embark on a liberal arts or an applied program. The study findings show that students arrive on university campuses with a variety of goals, expecting that university education will shape their knowledge, skills, and overall formation that will permit them to bring their aspirations to reality. This reality represents not only intellectual excitement, social interaction or community ideals; it also represents a labour market where success means securing a good job. On the whole, the labour market outcomes for applied and liberal graduates are satisfactory, which indicates that university education gets recognition and reward in the labour market. This information will be useful for educational planning and program choice by individual students as well as by the university in increasing the effectiveness   113 of career counseling centres. In recognizing that preparing graduates for employment is one of the aims of university education, examining the fit between education achievement and labour force participation encourages the university to examine and make explicit the role of labour force preparation and outcomes in university curricula. One aim of this paper was to point out that labour market outcomes are just one dimension that describes how human capital accumulated through university education translates into good employment in a knowledge-based economy. We argue that individuals measure their professional attainment not only in economic terms, but also in setting and attaining educational and career goals, in developing and growing interest for a field of study, in achieving personal growth and enhancing social interaction. These more subjective measures are not only essential for a better understanding of the individual perspective on the return to education; they should become more thoroughly analyzed from an institutional and societal perspective as well, in order to develop adequate practice and policy for academic programs and university services. Notes 2 The 1997 survey was conducted 18 months after graduation, but will be referred to as the one year follow-up survey. 3 Based on the CIP coding scheme, program areas like Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences fit under the liberal arts category (i.e., general instruction curriculum), as compared to the other program areas that are applied (i.e., skill formation). However, there is no perfect mapping between the CIP coding scheme and a definition of liberal arts and applied programs based on the specificity of the academic curriculum (Lin et al., 2000). As a result, some programs from the Humanities, Social Sciences or Life Sciences fit in the liberal arts category (e.g., English, Geography, Biology) while others fit in the applied programs category (e.g., Applied Linguistics, Social Work, Dietetics). 4 Information on employment status and earnings was covered in detail at both survey times. Data on occupations, work sector (public/private), and other details that could have provided additional insight into graduates’ labour market outcomes, were either not available or less reliable. 5 The term “further education” was used in the TUPC questionnaires and describes any form of education or training carried out by respondents after graduation. It has a broader meaning than “further studies,” the term used by Finnie (2001) to refer only to those who completed a new diploma after graduation. 6 We selected the term “school” for its conventional meaning of formal structured learning.   114 3.7 References Adamuti-Trache, M., & Sweet, R. (2005). Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. Canadian Studies in Population, 32(2), 177- 201. Allen, M., Harris, S., & Butlin, G. (2003). Finding their way: A profile of young Canadian graduates. Catalogue no. 81-595-MIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Minister of Industry. Andres, L., & Carpenter, S. (1998). Today’s higher education students: Issues of admission, retention, transfer and attrition in relation to changing student demographics. Research report for the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer. Axelrod, P., Anisef, P., & Lin, Z. (2001). Against all odds? The enduring value of liberal education in universities, professions and the labour market. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 31(2), 47-78. Axelrod, P. (2002). Values in conflict. The university, the marketplace, and the trials of liberal education. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a knowledge-driven economy. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 107-126. Brown, P. (2001 a). Skill formation in the twenty-first century. In P. Brown, A. Green, & H. Lauder (Eds.), High skills - Globalization, competitiveness, and skill formation (pp. 1 - 55). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brown, P. (2001 b). Globalization and the political economy. In P. Brown, A. Green, & H. Lauder (Eds.), High skills - Globalization, competitiveness, and skill formation (pp. 235 - 262). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Davenport, P. (2002). Universities and the knowledge society. In D. Laidler (Ed.). Renovating the ivory tower: Canadian universities and the knowledge economy, (pp. 39-59). Toronto: C. D. Howe Institute. Easton, S. (2002). Do we have a problem? Women and men in higher education. In D. Laidler (Ed.). Renovating the ivory tower: Canadian universities and the knowledge economy, (pp. 60-79). Toronto: C. D. Howe Institute. Finnie, R. (2001). Fields of plenty, fields of lean: The early labour market outcomes of Canadian university graduates by discipline. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 31(1), 41-176. Giles, P. (2002). Liberal arts degrees and the labour market. Education Quarterly Review, 8(2), 19-25. Graham, G. (2002). Universities: The recovery of an idea. Charlottesville: Imprint Academic. Hawkey, C., & Lee, R. (1999). Class of ’96. One-year after graduation. Retrieved July 30, 2005, from publications/graduate_outcomes/ Heijke, H., & Muysken, J. (Eds.) (2000). Education and training in a knowledge-based economy. London: MacMillan Press. Ltd. Heisz, A. (2003). Relative earnings of British Columbia university graduates. Education Quarterly Review, 9(1), 35-47. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.   115 Lavoie, M., & Roy, R. (1998). Employment in the knowledge-based economy: A growth accounting exercise for Canada. (R-98-8E) Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada. Lin, Z., Sweet, R., Anisef, P., & Schuetze, H. G. (2000). The National Graduate Surveys - Consequences and policy implications for university students who have chosen liberal or vocational education. Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada. Lin, Z., Sweet, R., & Anisef, P. (2003). Consequences and policy implications for university students who have chosen liberal or vocational education in Canada: labour market outcomes and employability skills. Higher Education Policy, 16(1), 55–85. Maslove, L., Fischer, L., & O’Heron, H. (1998). Making the transition: No two paths alike. Research File, 2(4). Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Ministère de l’Éducation Quebec (2003). Relance survey of university graduates – 2003. Employment situation of graduates, 2001 and 2003 surveys. (code: 20-5003-01a) Retrieved July 30, 2005, from Pitcher, J., & Purcell, K. (1998). Diverse expectations and access to opportunities: Is there a graduate labour market? Higher Education Quarterly, 52(2), 179–203. Rubenson, K., & Schuetze, H. G. (2000). Lifelong learning for the knowledge society: Demand, supply, and policy dilemmas. In K. Rubenson & H. G. Schuetze (Eds.), Transition to the knowledge society: Policies and strategies for individual participation and learning, (pp. 355- 376). Vancouver: UBC (Institute for European Studies). Schuetze, H. G. (2000). Higher education and lifelong learning in Canada: Re-interpreting the notions of ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional students’ in a ‘knowledge society’. In H. G. Schuetze & M. Slowey (Eds.), Higher education and lifelong learners: International perspectives on change (pp. 127 - 144). London and New York: Routledge - Falmer. Statistics Canada (2003a). Education in Canada: Raising the standard. 2001 Census analysis series, Catalogue no. 96F0030XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada (2003b). Education indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program 2003. Catalogue no. 81-582-XIE, Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Sudmant, W., Greenall, J., Lambert-Maberly, A., & Dumaresq, C. (2003). Class of ’96. Five years after graduation. Retrieved July 30, 2005, from The University Presidents’ Council of British Columbia Website: publications/ graduate_outcomes/ Walters, D. (2004). A comparison of the labour market outcomes of post-secondary graduates of various levels and fields over a four-cohort period. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 29(1), 1-27.   116 4   FURTHER  EDUCATION  PATHWAYS  OF  CANADIAN UNIVERSITY  GRADUATES1  4.1 Introduction The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) policy document published in 1996 brought a vision of lifelong learning for all, building on three principles that “place the individual at centre stage”, while “strengthening the democratic foundations of OECD societies” and “promoting economic growth and job creation” (p.87). OECD proposed an ‘economistic’ paradigm that underlines the importance of market, technology and development of human capital, and promotes “a more fluid relationship between learning and work” (p.22). Canada adopted the OECD principles of lifelong learning, and developed policies that recognize the reality of a rapidly changing economy, the long tradition of Canadian adult education and the need to serve diverse ethnic communities. In the 2007 OECD report on education, Canada is recognized among the industrialized countries with well-developed systems of education and training, following those of Sweden, Denmark, the United States, Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Thus, in 2002, a quarter of Canadian workers aged between 25 and 64 years old participated in non-formal job-related training (OECD, 2007).2 Another data source on organized learning by Canadian adults, the 2003 Adult Education and Training Survey (AETS), shows that one third of the employed adults participated in 2002 in formal job-related training (Peters, 2004).3 However, research shows that mostly highly educated workers continue to take education and training over the life course. For instance, Peters (2004) indicates that participation rates in formal job-related training were 52% for university-educated workers, compared to 38% and 18% for those with non-university education and secondary school education or less. Data support the assertion that “lifelong learning simply means those who are already highly educated are getting even more education and training (the exemplar par excellence of ‘the rich getting richer’)” (Myers & de Broucker, 2006, p.2). Canadian policy documents call on employers to invest more substantially in training, and recommend that both low-skilled and high-skilled  1 A version of this chapter has been published. Adamuti-Trache, M. (2008). Further education pathways of Canadian university graduates. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 14(2), 147-167.   117 workers have access to workplace-related training regardless their status and prior educational attainment (HRSDC, 2002).4  The HRSDC policy document weighs up that the progress is slow due to the lack of a coordinated system to promote the idea of lifelong learning in the workplace. Barriers to participation in education and training continue to be examined by researchers and policy makers, although some advise that research should also focus on “the relationship between acquired skills and the social, economic and labor market outcomes of individuals and firms” (Tuijnman & Boudard, 2001, p.47). In particular, research should thoroughly examine why skilled and highly educated people continue to invest in their education, what their choices are and whether they are satisfied with the returns to investment in education. The examination of individualized pathways of adults who engage in further (continuing) education could support Beck’s notion of individualization (1992) that describes how individuals become more and more responsible to construct their own lives. The purpose of this paper is to analyze further education pathways chosen by adults who graduated from Canadian universities by 2000. I will employ the OECD definitions of a) formal education that includes a variety of post-secondary programs, and b) non-formal training that includes career-related courses. I will adopt a ‘learner-worker’ perspective that situates graduates’ choices in the context of their work and family lives, and in relation to graduates’ human capital as described by their post-secondary education (PSE) attributes (e.g., level of education, field of study, academic ranking). The paper draws on the argument that demand for further education and training is shaped within the context of a fast changing but uncertain knowledge economy, and workers adopt lifelong learning strategies to maximize their chances to succeed in the labour market (Livingstone, 1999; Rubenson & Schuetze, 2000). 4.2 Literature review 4.2.1 Education and training in the knowledge-based economy In modern societies, knowledge is growing at such a pace that the formal education gained during childhood and youth is not sufficient to meet the demands of today’s knowledge society and to deal with obsolete knowledge, skills, careers and value systems. Individuals need to constantly learn over the whole life span, either for work, social or personal purposes, and to   118 adopt “global perspectives on knowledge, communications, and careers” (King, 1999, p.110). In a market-driven economy, lifelong learning is ultimately a way to cope with rapid changes in workplaces. Securing employment, obtaining competitive earnings, enhancing work conditions are among the reasons adults participate in continuing education and training. About eighty percent of those interviewed in the 2003 Adult Literacy and Life Skill Survey reported engaging in adult learning for job and career related motives (Rubenson, Desjardins, & Yoon, 2007). Some are critical about using lifelong learning as the only answer to workplace changes in the knowledge economy. For instance, Cruikshank argues that adjusting to the new global economy by escalating the surplus of skilled workers and labeling unemployment as “an individual deficit problem” (1998, p.107) supports a corporate agenda. She expresses concerns that this rapid restructuring of jobs has created a highly polarized workforce that places unequal pressure on workers who are trapped in unskilled, low-paying, casual or part-time jobs (Cruikshank, 2001). Livingstone (1999) advises that the knowledge economy may become an illusory concept if one were to consider the wasted ability of large proportions of underemployed workers. Livingstone draws attention to the vulnerability of this group that is incapable of using acquired qualifications in their present jobs. Since “the equation between more education and better jobs is far from certain” the underemployed are confronted with a very legitimate question of whether it was useful “to respond to this uncertainty by pursuing yet more formal education” (p.178). Without discarding the importance of lifelong learning and continuing education, Livingstone realistically addresses the need for substantial economic reforms in addition to educational agendas. Rubenson and Schuetze (2000) associate the demand for education and training to structural changes in knowledge-based economies that rely increasingly on high-skilled workers, organizational changes in firms that adjust their business strategies to global markets, and the growing educational attainment of the Canadian population. Indeed, in 2005, 23% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had university education and 46% completed post-secondary education (OECD, 2007). In addition, Canada has a selective immigration policy that recruits highly educated immigrants. For instance, 55% of the immigrants who arrived in 2001 had at least a bachelor’s degree and a further 19% had at least some post-secondary education (Statistics Canada, 2005a). Newcomers manifest a large interest in continuing education – two-thirds of those who arrived in 2000-2001 planned to pursue education and training in Canada, and within two years of arrival to   119 Canada, 40% of immigrants aged 25 to 49 participated in formal and non-formal education other than language training (Adamuti-Trache & Sweet, 2007). Participation rate was as high as 47% for university-educated immigrants. Recent immigrants view further education in Canada as a promising way to gain recognition of prior qualification, and hence to access a broader range of job opportunities. Canadian-educated individuals engage in further education for similar reasons. Research based on the National Graduate Surveys (NGS) (Lin, Sweet, Anisef, & Schuetze, 2000; Finnie, 2001) and provincial surveys on graduates' outcomes (Adamuti-Trache, Hawkey, Schuetze, & Glickman, 2006) demonstrated that pursuing further education was perceived as a strategy to enhance returns of investment in university education. Over 60% of the British Columbia baccalaureate graduates (Adamuti-Trache et al., 2006) reported career/job/employment reasons for continuing education. Further education and training has become part of after-graduation paths for many university- educated Canadians. Finnie (2001) illustrates that up to 36% of Canadian graduates of the 1990 Cohort completed a new diploma by 1995. Allen and Vaillancourt (2004) claim that 41% of the bachelor’s graduates of the Class of 2000 pursued further education by 2002. Similarly, Adamuti-Trache et al. (2006) found that 29% of the British Columbia 1996 Cohort of baccalaureate graduates continued further education, although participation rates differed by gender, age and type of academic program completed. There is a clear tendency for university graduates to combine employment and further studies at least within five years after graduation, which supports the notion of ‘learner-worker’ advanced by OECD. 4.2.2 Providers of further education and training in Canada A crucial feature of the Canadian society that impacts individual choices toward continuing education is the expansion of the Canadian post-secondary system (i.e., universities, university colleges, community and career colleges, institutes). Post-secondary educational settings have increased and diversified their offerings; they adopted models for delivery of instruction that are more flexible and efficient; and they forcefully advocate for diversity in access and outcomes (Canadian Council on Learning, 2006). A distinct spotlight is placed on adult learners that constitute today a common clientele (Compton, Cox, & Santos Laana, 2006; Peters, 2004; Schuetze & Slovey, 2002). In particular, university continuing education refers to all forms of   120 continuing education offered by a university (or a university college), including not only single courses or entire programs but also single events such as presentations, conferences, workshops (Cruikshank, 2001; Kreber & Mhina, 2005). The demand for PSE is also reflected by increased participation in over 150 community colleges and institutes (Association of Canadian Community Colleges, 2006; Dennison & Gallagher, 1986; Levin, 2001) and a myriad of proprietary colleges (Sweet & Gallagher, 1999). Non-university institutions serve a diverse clientele and educational purposes – as noted by Kirby (2007) many take a utilitarian approach by offering vocational and workforce training programs that address the education and skill requirements of industry. Universities and non-university institutions compete in the market of continuing education as viable providers of lifelong learning activities. In addition, there is a call for workplaces to step up their involvement in offering job-training and other skill upgrading for workers (Myers & de Broucker, 2006). There is evidence that especially those who missed post-secondary education opportunities could benefit from job-related training and literacy programs in the workplace. It is however unlikely that workplace contribution will become significant without developing policy levers that encourage employers to train workers. Although Canada does not have a coordinated system of continuing education and training, various educational providers contribute to enhance the range of individual choices for adult learners. 4.2.3 Individual as investor in further education The OECD policies put forward the idea of shared responsibilities by educational institutions, workplaces, social partners, public and private sectors in building a learning society and knowledge-based economy (OECD, 1996). Clear emphasis is placed on the role of the individual as investor in his/her own education. An active individual agency is expected to show “creativity, initiative and responsiveness – attributes which contribute to self-fulfillment, higher earnings and employment, and to innovation and productivity” (OECD, 2004, p.2). The individual is expected to anticipate workplace changes, be prepared to take action, and to become a ‘learner-worker’ who combines participation in the labour force and continuing education over life course. Since continuous and purposeful participation in various forms of education and training by adults is desirable, barriers to participation have been constantly examined in adult education   121 research. The traditional model of adult education participation that acknowledges individual histories and includes opportunity structures is Cross’ Chain-of-Response (COR) model (1981). The model accounts for individual, situational, dispositional and institutional factors that describe opportunities and barriers to participation and/or choice. Individual factors are usually demographic variables and other factors that characterize personal status (e.g., gender, age, immigrant status, level of education). Situational factors describe life circumstances that favour or hinder participation (e.g., employment, marital status, family obligations, financial support). Dispositional factors usually include a stated purpose for participation or related reasons that stimulate the decision (e.g., learning dispositions, credential motivation). Finally, institutional factors can include the type of program or course, their duration, and the type of instruction employed. The latter factors are relevant in models that describe institutional choices (Adamuti- Trache & Sweet, 2008). The COR opportunity structures typology is considered very flexible and has been employed in studies that analyzed adults’ participation in education/training or the basis of institutional choices. An analysis of choice of further education pathways by highly educated workers, as intended in this paper, requires a distinct typology of influencing factors that can be drawn from Cross’ model. Individual factors that inform on socio-demographics characteristics, and situational factors that reflect work, family and financial circumstances, are essential in a participation and/or path choice model for adults. However, highly educated workers represent a more homogeneous group with regard to education because they all demonstrated some ability to overcome participation barriers in the past. In examining their decisions to continue education as well as their educational choices, I would argue that the role of human capital (i.e., essentially PSE-related characteristics) should be made explicit. For instance, PSE factors like level of university education or major field of study are informative of the type of job (e.g., professional, managerial) and/or the occupation envisaged by respondents. Since professional communities have different cultures (i.e., norms, job requirements, practices), workers in various fields may approach continuing education differently. Recent research on educational participation has considered Bourdieu’s theory of practice (1990a) that essentially relates the practice in a field (e.g., engaging in PSE, choosing a particular career) to individual’s ability to access available resources and his/her possession of dispositions toward that field of practice. For instance, previous PSE experience, or a particular type of experience (e.g., taking distance education), are   122 crucial in making the decision to engage in further education. PSE related attributes do not inform only on the existing human capital but on human agency’s ability to purposefully activate this capital. In this paper, I will employ a participation/choice framework based on Cross’ model and include specific PSE related factors, to explain choices of further education pathways made by university-educated adults. 4.3 Method 4.3.1 Research questions This study entails the use of longitudinal data from the 2002 National Graduates Survey (NGS) and the 2005 Follow-up of the Canadian post-secondary graduates in 2000. This is a national database that contains detailed information on graduates’ socio-demographics, educational attainment, current employment status and further education. This paper will address the following research questions: 1. What are respondents’ reasons for continuing education and training, what is the demand for specific further education pathways by 2002 and what is the level of employer’s support? 2. How is choice of further education pathways associated with socio-demographic, post- secondary education (PSE) characteristics of respondents, and other situational factors? 3. Are there differences in labour market outcomes in 2005 for respondents who engaged in specific further education pathways by 2002? 4.3.2 Variables The focal variable of the study is participation in at least one educational event between 2000 and 2002. These events consist of formal education programs 3 months or longer and career- related training courses that required at least 20 hours of participation. The 2002 programs can be differentiated by institutional providers (i.e., university and non-university) and by scope of university programs (i.e., degree or non-degree). The ‘non-university’ educational providers are post-secondary institutions other than university (e.g., community and career colleges, institutes). This paper extends the Cross’ participation model (1981) by introducing a typology of choice of   123 one of the five further education pathways: 1. university continuing education for (second) degree purpose (UCE_SD); 2. university continuing education for non-degree purpose (UCE_ND); 3. non-university continuing education to obtain diploma or certificate (NUCE); 4. career-related training (i.e., courses, workshops, seminars, tutorials) that required at least 20 hours of participation and were offered by various providers (e.g., employer, post- secondary institutions) abbreviated as TR; 5. non-participation. There was some overlap between the course and program participation, in which case I classified the respondents as program participants. Very few respondents made more than one program choice, in which case I gave priority to university continuing education and/or degree programs. The explanatory variables are described below and operationalized in the Appendix E (Table E1). The model will employ socio-demographic factors, PSE-related characteristics and situational factors: 1. Socio-demographic factors are antecedents of further education choices. Gender, age and immigrant status account for social structures, and parental education is a proxy for social background. The four age groups show respondents’ positioning with respect to the educational system, the workforce and family formation. The younger group (25-29) follows prolonged trajectories into adulthood of the traditional 18 to 24 years old students. The two middle groups (30-39 and 40-49) are at different career and family formation stages, while the older group (50-64) enters a pre-retirement stage. Since parental education is often associated with educational attainment, it is legitimate to inquire what role it plays (if any) in further education choices. 2. PSE-related characteristics are also introduced as antecedents of further education choices. Highest level of university education and major field of study of the program completed in 2000 inform on respondent’s human capital. Academic ranking in one’s graduating class is a self-reported competency assessment that informs on academic ability and respondent’s self-confidence. Whether respondents ever took part-time studies or engaged in distance education for the program completed in 2000 indicates respondent’s   124 disposition toward program flexibility (by choice or if needed) in order to continue education. 3. Situational variables are essentially correlates of participation/choice of further education pathways. Main financial support for all post-secondary studies (by 2002) describes the financial burden on respondent (i.e., personal sources and loans to be paid) versus having access to non-repayable sources (i.e., family or employer support). Difficulty to pay back borrowed money could influence participation in further education that may involve cumulating more debt, so this financial variable describes essentially a situational factor. Marital status and having dependent children indicate life course circumstances that impact adults’ decisions to engage in further education. Finally, employment status is a major correlate of participation and choice because it informs on resources, time availability and possible employer support. Other variables are defined for two sub-samples: 1. Participants in further education: I will examine reasons to participate and employer’s support for programs and career-related courses. 2. Full-time employed in 2005: I will examine several labour market outcomes5 such as job permanency, relation job-education, income and job satisfaction and median income. Outcomes will be separately analyzed by highest level of education in 2005. 4.3.3 Research sample The research sample consists of 9,140 respondents representing over 75,000 Canadians who graduated from post-secondary institutions in 2000 and reported at least a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. Only those who lived in Canada between 2000 and 2005 and were therefore likely to enter or re-enter the workforce h