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OSPE report points to underemployment among engineers

Report "A Waste of Talent? Underemployment Crisis Among Ontario's Engineers" finds big difference between Ontario and Alberta.


The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) has released a report finding that about 30 per cent of engineering graduates actually work in positions that don’t require them even to have a university degree.

OSPE deems this condition as “underemployment” and says the situation is unacceptable and “demonstrates a vast underuse of people who obtained a rigorous university degree at great cost to the individual, as well as society, only to end up working in jobs that likely wastes their education, skills and talent.”

The report “Crisis in Ontario’s Engineering Labour Market: Underemployment Among Ontario’s Engineering-Degree Holders” was released on January 19. It drew on statistics from the Canadian National Census 2011 National Household Survey.

The report had other interesting findings that showed that engineering degrees were not bearing fruit:

– only about 30% of employed individuals in Ontario who held a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering were working as engineers or engineering managers;

– just 29.7% of individuals with engineering degrees work as engineers or engineering managers in Ontario, compared to almost 46% in Alberta;

– just over 20 per cent of women and internationally trained engineers (ITEs) with engineering degrees actually work as engineers or engineering managers;

– by a wide margin, employed individuals with bachelor’s degrees or higher in engineering did not work in their field of study compared with those with medical, law, nursing or education degrees.

The organization said the report raises many questions, including what can be done to reduce the level of underemployment.

Sandro Perruzza, OSPE’s chief executive officer, said in a press release: “The underemployment crisis is an important policy area when one considers the negative impact for Ontario’s highly skilled engineers, industries, and the economy.”

“Universities, employers, industry leaders, policy makers and government all have a role to play when it comes to improving the labour market outcomes for the province’s engineers,” said Perruzza.

He added: “OSPE looks forward to working with these stakeholders and our members to find solutions to alleviate the underemployment situation among engineers.”

OSPE is a voluntary advocacy association for engineers. Its stated vision is to be “the voice of Ontario’s engineers, supporting, representing and advancing their interests and promoting engineering excellence for the benefit of the public.”

To read the report, click here.

Sandro Paruzza, chief executive officer of OSPE.

Sandro Paruzza, chief executive officer of OSPE.