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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


New grads fairing better than ever

College diplomas and bachelor's degrees consistently proved their value to young Canadians who entered the labour market throughout the 1990s, according to a new Statistics Canada study.

Even though young college and bachelor graduates in the class of 1995 owed more at graduation than the 1990 graduates, they were paying those loans off at a faster rate than the class of 1990.

The study uses data from the National Survey of Graduates to examine labour market outcomes for young college and bachelor graduates in the classes of 1986, 1990 and 1995 who entered their programs directly from high school.

The most recent college and university grads experienced an unemployment rate of 3.3% and 5.4%, respectively, while high school grads experienced a 7.4% rate.

Young college and bachelor graduates continued to do well when it came to getting not just a job, but a good job. Generally, university graduates got better paying jobs. Both college and bachelor graduates from engineering and related fields of study consistently landed higher paying jobs.

Two years after graduation, college graduates had higher employment rates than bachelor graduates. For the classes of 1986 and 1990, bachelor graduates caught up after five years. This was not the case for the class of 1995; the difference in employment rates diminished by 2000, but young college graduates were still more likely to have a job. The longer transition to employment for bachelor graduates was partly explained by the fact that some bachelor graduates continued with further education.

The National Graduates Survey interviews postsecondary graduates two years and five years after graduation. The survey's sample is large (29,000 for five years after graduation for the Class of 1995, representing 294,000 graduates) and representative of graduates from different fields of study.

Bachelor graduates' unemployment rates were somewhat less sensitive than those of college graduates to shifts in labour market conditions. Their unemployment rates remained relatively low during the 1991recession, an indication that a higher level of education tends to help insulate individuals from the effects of economic downturns.

For the full results of the study, visit

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