Ontario university grads find jobs, earn more money, despite recession

More than 91 per cent employed within six months: Survey

Students who complete undergraduate programs at Ontario universities continue to experience high employment and earnings rates, even during uncertain economic times, according to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

More than 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 are only two per cent lower than the previous year's employment rates, despite 2008 being the depth of the recession.

Graduates are also finding jobs in their field of study, found the survey of 19,402 graduates. More than 77 per cent of graduates reported their jobs were related to their education and two years after graduation, more than 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," said Alastair Summerlee, chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ont. "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 four per cent for those with a high school education.

The programs seeing the highest employment after graduation (100 per cent) were dentistry, forestry, medicine, optometry, theology and veterinary medicine. The programs seeing the lowest employment were agriculture and biological sciences (86.8 per cent), health professions (87 per cent) and mathematics (87.7 per cent).

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 about 32 per cent more annually than those with a college certificate or diploma, and 53 per cent more than those with no post-secondary education.

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