Study Finds Unemployment Up for University Graduates
A recent study conducted by the Council of Ontario Universities shows that while times might not be as rosy as they were before the 2008-2009 recession for university grads looking for a job, there are ways to improve the chance of finding employment after postsecondary graduation.
The evidence points to a decline in most areas of employment for recent grads of Ontario universities. In fact, since 2006, overall unemployment has increased for university graduates and, according to the more than 25,000 respondents of the annual graduate survey for this year, the prospect of finding work in their field of study has declined. Average salaries have also been affected, with a lag in wage gains that does not bode well for paying off tuition.
Certain fields of study, such as the humanities, have seen real earnings drop worse than in other areas. On the other hand, dentistry and medicine have seen steady wage gains, as has the area of computer science.
The decision of what discipline to study may have to be dictated by the reality of the job market, as opposed to personal preference. Fereshteh Tabatabaei, a graduate with two science degrees in life sciences and health management, had to settle for work as an administrative assistant, and ultimately went back to school to get a master’s degree in an attempt to achieve her professional goals. She says, “If I had chosen business, I would have been in a different position, where my student loans would have been paid off.”
Another key to success is getting an early foothold in the economy, either through a part-time summer job or a co-op placement through the university. After finding that employers are looking for 3 – 5 years’ experience, political science graduate Brandon Clim says, “I was fortunate not to have to work during my studies – now that’s become an impediment.” Accepting jobs at minimum wage may be the only recourse for graduates who lack experience, especially in fields where jobs are harder to find.
More and more universities are offering internships or co-op placements, and students are wise to take advantage of this option, after carefully weighing the choices of which field to study in the first place.