Data Check: Employment losses at universities and colleges

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National level data reported by Statistics Canada reveals that the number of people working at universities and colleges has declined over the past year, offsetting gains in employment in other parts of the public sector.

Since 2010, the average number of people employed in the postsecondary education (PSE) sector fell by 14,000. Almost all that decline occurred in Ontario – more than 12,000 jobs were lost, a seven and a half per cent reduction in the postsecondary education workforce.

Meanwhile, the number of university and college students in Ontario rose by three per cent. That represents an 11 per cent increase in the number of students for each postsecondary employee currently working. To put it into perspective, the ratio of Ontarians to every provincial public service and broader public service employee grew by only one per cent.

Viewed quarter to quarter, average salaries and wages have also suffered. Keeping up with inflation was a challenge for significant parts of the public sector, but the average compensation for employees in the PSE sector fell even before inflation. Once inflation is taken into account, the reduction in pay for PSE employees amounts to three per cent.

Source: Statistics Canada, Public Sector Employment, Fourth quarter 2011 (preliminary); The Consumer Price Index, December 2011; Quarterly Demographic Estimates, July to September 2011.
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; Colleges Ontario, 2011 Environmental Scan

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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