Data check: Ontario university grads (still) get jobs

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Listening to the pundits, you’d think there is an employment crisis for university graduates in Ontario. In fact, our grads are doing just fine despite the negative effects of the financial crisis. 

The Council of Ontario Universities recently released the results of the 2012 Graduate Survey. According to the report, 92 per cent of those graduating in 2010 were employed two years later. The employment rates of the Class of 2010 six months and two years after graduation are lower than those for graduates in previous years, due largely to a labour market still recovering from the Great Recession.

That much is reflected in the increase of the 2010 cohort’s employment rate between the six-month and two-year milestones. It improved by almost six percentage points, compared to the one and half to three point improvement of those who graduated before the downturn.

Labour market conditions also show up in the degree to which “the skills they gained in their programs match the skills they need at work.” The Class of 2010 does not fare as well as cohorts from previous years in matching skills to jobs. Nonetheless, the skills match improvement between six months and two years after graduation is roughly the same for them as for previous graduates.

The report does not indicate whether the salaries reported for graduates in previous years are adjusted for inflation, so it is hard to know whether the noticeably flat trend reflects the skills match. Still, the average annual salary for the same cohort rose by 15 per cent from the point in time six months after to two years after their graduation.

This data makes clear that graduate unemployment – low as it is – is not the fault of universities. Rather, the long hangover of the 2008 financial crisis is to blame. Thankfully, this negative effect largely disappears two years after graduation.

Source: Council of Ontario Universities, 2012 Graduate Survey

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