Take heart university students, the odds are in your favour

93.6% employment rate 2 years after graduation, up from 87.6% employment rate 6 months after graduationThis week, the Council of Ontario Universities released an annual survey conducted on behalf of the Ontario government on the employment rates and earnings of new graduates of the province’s universities.

The numbers were impressive – almost 94 per cent of graduates had jobs two years after graduation, $49K annual salary 2 years after graduation, up from $42.3K annual salary 6 months after graduationand the average full-time salary two years after graduation was $49,000.

These were graduates who were in university as the world economy was in a deep recession.

Now it’s true that employment rates and salary levels when adjusted for inflation – even for university graduates – aren’t quite as high in real terms as they were a decade ago – that is, before the recession and before a massive increase in the number of students entering and graduating from university hit the job market.

But take heart parents, students and graduates, in the short-term and in the long-term university graduates are better off than those with any other level of education.

Here are all the facts we know to be true:

  • Empirical data shows Ontario university graduates have the best labour market outcomes.
  • University graduates experienced the highest employment growth of any educational attainment group over the last decade.
  • They have low unemployment rates and the highest life-time earnings in Ontario.
  • University graduates’ earnings are significantly higher than for any other educational group. These earning premiums start early in graduates’ careers, and the gap between university graduates’ earnings and those with other levels of education widens as the university graduate progresses in their career.
  • Over a 40-year period, graduates from Ontario universities earn on average $1.1 million more than graduates from other postsecondary programs and $1.5 million more than the average Canadian high school graduate
  • On average, graduates of Ontario universities earn 58 per cent more than graduates from other postsecondary programs.

For more information, see here.

And we know that university graduates are in demand. They have the skills that employers and the labour market are looking for.

Consider this:

  • In 2007, 65 per cent of new jobs required postsecondary education. By 2011, that figure was 70 per cent. Forecasts predict that by 2022, 71 per cent of all new jobs will require a postsecondary education, and by 2031 it will be almost 80 per cent.
  • Almost one million new jobs have been created for those with a university education since 2007.

It’s understandable at a time when economists are pointing to a recession again that university graduates have concerns about their futures. Will they get jobs? Will they earn a good living?

But the data shows universities are preparing graduates well for their lives and careers – as they launch and, perhaps more importantly, for the long game.

Enjoy the journey.