EduData – From the Classroom to the Workplace: Are recent university grads using their skills?

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Note: Of the 78,232 students who graduated in 2011, 72,249 were contacted to participate in this survey. Six months and two years after graduation, 17,950 and 20,055 graduates, respectively, responded to this question.
Source: Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, 2013-2014 Ontario University Graduate Survey. See http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/pepg/programs/osaprates/OntarioUniversityGraduateSurvey1314.pdf

As economists and employers continue to debate whether a ‘skills gap’ exists in Ontario and Canada, at large, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities checked in with recent grads to see if they believe they are using the skills they developed at university in their full-time jobs. Six months after graduation, 78.9% of grads who were employed full-time reported that their work was either somewhat (31.9%) or closely (47.0%) related to the skills they developed at university and, two years after graduation, this percentage increased to 85.9% (31.1% somewhat; 54.8% closely). The survey also asked recent grads about the extent to which their work aligned with the subject matter they studied at university. Interestingly, six months after graduation, 69.2% of grads employed full-time believed that their work was related (25.2% somewhat; 44.0% closely) to the content they studied at university and, two years after graduation, this percentage increased to 75.4% (27.0% somewhat; 48.4% closely). The similarities between the skills and subject matter responses make us wonder whether or not respondents differentiated between the two questions. Nonetheless, the survey results suggest that, at least from the students’ perspectives, recent grads are transferring their skills from the classroom to the workplace.

For further discussion and analysis on the issue of a skills gap, check out HEQCO’s recent three-part series.

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