Study: University grads top labour market outcomes

Ontario university graduates earned more, were more likely to be working in jobs related to their studies and had experienced the highest employment growth of any group of students over the last 10 years, according to a Council of Ontario Universities (COU) report issued Tuesday.

University Works analyzed the latest data to conclude Ontario university graduates enjoy a lifetime of positive employment outcomes when compared to those with other types of education. The report was prepared by a senior policy analyst at COU.

“This report uses empirical data to debunk anecdotal reports about unemployed and under-employed university students,” said Max Blouw, COU chair, and Wilfrid Laurier University president. “The statistics show very clearly that a university education leads to success in the labour market.”

The report found that over the last decade university graduates:

  • experienced the highest employment growth of any educational attainment group;
  • had low unemployment rates;
  • had earnings that were significantly higher than for any other educational group, and these earning premiums started early in their careers; and
  • were more likely to be working at jobs related to their studies than are college graduates.

The report also concluded Ontarians were increasingly choosing a university education over other types of postsecondary education, and the labour market was absorbing the growth well.

“COU has tested challenges to the value of a university education for the province of Ontario and found that no matter which way you look at it, university graduates succeed in the workplace,” said Bonnie M. Patterson, COU president and CEO. “Ontario university graduates have higher employment rates and higher salaries than those with any other level of education. They also get jobs in their field of study.”

The report relied on data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, National Household Survey, Income Statistics Division and National Occupational Classification for Statistics. It also drew on data from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Ontario University Graduate Survey and Employment Profile.