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Layoffs lead to higher learning, says Canadian study

Unemployed adults three to five times as likely to enrol in post-secondary education

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 2:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 2:07pm

Pink slips turn to post-secondary opportunities for adults, suggests a Statics Canada study.

Adults who are laid off are three to five times as likely to enrol in a post-secondary education than those who are working. The study found 3.1 per cent of both men and women who lost employment during the 2008 recession enrolled in a college or university. This was compared with enrolment rates for people who were not laid off of 1 per cent for women and 0.6 per cent for men.

The study found a significant link between layoffs and full-time attendance in postsecondary education institutions two years prior to job loss to two years following job loss. This suggests that some laid-off workers start enrolling in postsecondary institutions as soon as they receive information about impending layoffs and that, in some cases, their periods of enrolment last more than one year.

The data also suggests layoffs spur working adults in uncertain environments. For example, employees at distressed firms, or those who work at companies supplying struggling companies, may also seek further education in anticipation of potential job cuts.

The study tracked workers who were aged 35 to 44 in 2001 and recorded their transitions into postsecondary education institutions from 2001 to 2011.