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The Problem with Canadian Education

In the run up to the launch of the main site, I’ve been doing a lot of off-line bragging about the value of Canadian undergrads with degrees in Arts and Sciences- you know, the people who often get overlooked by on-campus recruiters.

I generally believe that people that come out of university with degrees in politics, economics, philosophy, biology, etc, come out of university equipped with analytical skills, which make them ideal ‘entry-level’ candidates for good jobs with lots of opportunity for development.

The problem is, employers in Canada- many of whom are receiving thousands of resumes from students and new-grads looking for an opportunity- are more likely to look for specific skills and education than the almighty, queen of ‘traits’…: potential.

This isn’t as much of a problem in the U.K., where students with degrees in philosophy are routinely recruited into accounting firms.

So, why the big difference? There are a few reasons, but one of the less obvious ones is something I’m going to call demonstrated commitment.

In Canada, students in high-school take lots of different courses. Many enter Arts (Social Sciences or Humanities) programs, and take lots of different courses again in their first year in order to choose a ‘major’ and sometimes a ‘minor’ that they will focus on (but not completely) for the following 3 years, if you are planning to go abroad and study check out this link to get a scholarship.

In the U.K., students at the age of 16 commit to three main subjects for their ‘A-levels’, and when they’re 18 and enter university, they pick one of these subjects and focus on it for their 3 year undergraduate education.

Students in the U.K. can show employers demonstrated commitment– a very employable trait, don’t you think?

Written by

Lauren Friese is the founder of TalentEgg. After graduating from Queen's University and receiving her Masters from the London School of Economics, Lauren entered the workforce. She landed her first ‘real’ job shortly after, but thought there had to be a better way to transition from school to work. The idea was born and TalentEgg hatched in April 2008! Contact her at
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