Early Labour Market Outcomes of Recent Canadian University Graduates by Discipline: A Longitudinal, Cross-cohort Analysis
This paper reports the results of an empirical analysis of the early career outcomes of recent Canadian Bachelor's level graduates by discipline based on three waves of the National Graduates Surveys, which comprise large, representative databases of individuals who successfully completed their programmes at Canadian universities in 1982, 1986, and 1990, with information gathered during interviews conducted two and five years after graduation for each group of graduates (1984/87, 1988/92, 1990/95). The outcomes analysed, all broken down by sex and discipline, include: the distribution of graduates by field and the percentage of female graduates; the percentage of graduates who subsequently completed another educational programme; the overall evaluation of the choice of major (would they choose it again?); unemployment rates, the percentage of workers in part-time jobs, in temporary jobs, self-employed; the job-education skill and credentials matches; earnings levels and rates of growth; and job satisfaction (earnings, overall). Many of the outcomes conform to expectations, typically reflecting the different orientations of the various disciplines with respect to direct career preparedness, with the professions and other applied disciplines generally characterised by lower unemployment rates, closer skill and qualification matches, higher earnings, and so on. On the other hand, while the "applied" fields also tend to perform well in terms of the "softer", more subjective measures regarding job satisfaction and the overall evaluation of the chosen programme (would the graduate choose the same major again?), the findings also indicate that graduates' assessments of their post-graduation experiences and overall evaluations of the programmes from which they graduated are based on more than simply adding up standard measures of labour market "success", with the job satisfaction scores and - perhaps most interestingly - the overall programme evaluations often departing from what the objective measures (unemployment rates, earnings levels, etc.) might have predicted. Some implications of the findings are discussed and avenues for future research are suggested.
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