Ontario university graduates get jobs, earn more money, despite recession

Students who complete undergraduate programs at Ontario universities continue to experience high employment and earnings rates, even during uncertain economic times, according to the latest employment survey commissioned by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and carried out by an independent firm, CCI Research Inc. 

Over 91 per cent of the 2008 graduates surveyed said they were employed within six months of graduation, and almost 94 per cent reported they had a job two years after graduation. These high rates, only two percent lower than the previous year’s employment rates, are encouraging given the fact that 2008 was the depth of the recession.

The survey also finds that graduates get jobs in their field of study. Over 77 per cent of those graduates reported that their jobs were related to their education. Two years after graduation, over 83 per cent were in positions related to their degree.

“These high employment rates show that Ontario university students have the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for,” says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guelph. “As the workplace adapts to a changing economy, Ontario university students graduate with the flexibility and critical thinking skills necessary for adapting along with it.”

From 2004 to 2010, employment growth for university graduates outpaced all other levels of education: jobs grew by 28 per cent for those with a university degree, 17 per cent for those with a college diploma, and only 4 per cent for those with a high school education.

Ontario university graduates also earn more. Six months after graduation, the average annual salary for graduates of undergraduate degree programs was $42,904, rising to $49,469 just two years after graduation. Ontario university graduates earn approximately 32 per cent more annually than those with a college certificate or diploma, and 53 per cent more than those with no postsecondary education.

“Ontario universities continue to meet the needs of the workplace, and this most recent survey demonstrates the value of our graduates to employers in many different sectors,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. 

Read the Highlights of the survey of 2008 Graduates of Ontario University Undergraduate Programs

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