A recent survey of university graduates says a post-secondary education is a safe ticket to a job.

On Sept. 17, the Council of Ontario Universities released a survey that concluded Ontario university grads continue to enjoy high employment rates. The document, which was the fourth of its kind, surveyed 42,800 graduates and was conducted with the help of Statistics Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The survey states that six months after graduation, the overall employment rate for university graduates is 95.8 per cent, while two years later, the rate increases to 96.6 per cent.

The survey argues that graduate employment rates are high, but the council’s findings also reveal inconsistencies since 2000-2001. The employment rate for graduates then was 97.2 per cent—0.6 per cent higher than today.

Interestingly, the six-month post-graduation rate has improved since 2000-2001, when it stood at 94.6 per cent. That is 1.2 per cent lower than today’s rate.

Arnice Cadieux, the executive director of public affairs at the Council of Ontario Universities, said the survey proves that “university graduates have the highest employment rate of all post-secondary graduates.” She also said the rates are “consistently high across all disciplines.”

Cadieux argued these findings underline the employment benefits that come with earning a university degree, as well as the higher income-earning potential of university grads.

But other education experts said employment rates don’t give the whole picture of job prospects after graduation. Mary Harari, manager of the youth employment program Completing the Circle, said she finds that “university graduates cannot find jobs in their field.” She said that although her service often caters to recent high-school graduates, university graduates approach her because they feel their skills are not specific enough.

“Arts degrees are too general,” she said. Harari noted that the double cohort year is causing many high school graduates to re-think a university education because they are scared they will be unable to get in.

Yvonne Rodney, the associate director of the University of Toronto Career Centre, said that while the Career Centre does not track graduate employment trends, she has noticed employers are now waiting longer before they post job listings. “Just-in-time hiring has become more frequent,” Rodney explained.

She said employers are now more wary about hiring because they do not want to renege on an offer or make a poor investment.

The Council’s brochure can be read online at www.cou.on.ca.

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