University Employment Outcomes, Graduation and Student Loan Default Rates

2019-20 Ontario University Graduate Survey

About the Survey

Each year the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in cooperation with Ontario’s universities, administers the Ontario University Graduate Survey. The survey is administered to all graduates two years after graduation, and asks for information on their employment outcomes at six months and two years after graduation. The information is used to support policy development and analysis, and to ensure Ontario’s graduates are obtaining good, high quality jobs.

2019-20 Ontario University Graduate Survey respondents graduated in 2017. Respondents were surveyed between August and November 2020, and asked about their employment status at 6 months after graduation and two years after graduation. A graduate could respond online or by e-mail, mobile device, or paper.

To increase accountability and transparency, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has provided the response counts for each question of the survey, as well as contextual information to help better understand calculations.

Graduate Responses

Of the 85,170 graduates, 78,524 were surveyed and 27,116 responded resulting in a 34.5% response rate.

Of the total survey respondents , 98% of survey responses were in English, while 2% were in French.

How to Interpret Survey Results

The data in this document is for summary purposes only. It cannot be used to calculate the graduate employment rate or to conduct research. The following information will also help users accurately interpret the survey results provided at the end of this summary.

In surveys, a partial non-response error can occur, when individuals respond to the survey but do not respond to a specific question. For instance, while it may be logical to assume that all respondents who indicated they were employed or offered employment would also indicate the number of hours they work in a week, not all respondents do.

Tables in orange include responses by graduates who were not in the labour force. Tables in blue only include graduates who were in the labour force.

Graduate Employment Rate Calculation

The ministry calculates the graduate employment rate as the proportion of graduates in the labour force who responded as being employed or offered employment. The labour force is defined as those who are employed, offered employment, and looking for work but not in school. Respondents that indicate they are not employed in Question 1/15, looking for work in Question 9/25, and not in school in Question 10/26, are included in the labour force and classified as looking.

2019-20 Ontario University Graduate Survey: Results for 2017 Graduates

2019-20 Graduate Employment Rate
Period Complete Surveys Employed/ Self-Employed Offered Looking Employed/ Offered a Job Individuals in Labour Force Employment Rate
n n n n n n %
6 Months 27,116 19,951 667 2,775 20,618 23,393 88%
2 years 27,116 21,892 542 1,521 22,434 23,995 94%

6 Months/2 Years Comparison Overall
1/15. Best applies to your situation: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Not employed [Skip to Q9/Q25] 6,486 24% 4,671 17%
Offered employment 667 2% 542 2%
Employed in a Paid Job (PT/FT) 19,527 71% 21,903 78%
Self-employed 624 2% 799 3%
Total responses 27,104 27,105

This information cannot be used to calculate the graduate employment rate because it includes responses from graduates who were not looking for work (because they were in school or otherwise not in the labour market). See the above panel for the correct graduate employment rate.


Section A - Paid Employment

More than one paid job
2/16. More than one paid job: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes 5,423 26% 4,599 21%
No 15,189 74% 17,814 79%
Total responses 20,612 22,413

This question identifies whether graduates who identified in 1/15 that they were in paid employment had more than one paid job. This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.

Was your employment for 30 hours a week or more?
3/17. Was your employment for 30 hours a week or more? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes 16,922 82% 19,189 86%
No 3,669 18% 3,215 14%
Total responses 20,591 22,404

The survey uses Statistics Canada’s definition of full-time employment, which requires an individual to be employed for 30 hours a week or more to be considered employed full time.

Reason for working less than 30 hours a week:
4/18. Reason for working less than 30 hours a week: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Going to school 1,279 35% 1,490 47%
Illness or disability 36 1% 59 2%
Personal or family responsibilities 81 2% 92 3%
Unable to find full-time work/ only job found/ insufficient business 1,661 45% 1,001 31%
Travelling 66 2% 60 2%
Unpaid internship 37 1% 41 1%
Personal preference 278 8% 263 8%
Other 213 6% 195 6%
Total responses 3,651 3,201

Respondents who identified in 3/17 that they were working for 30 hours a week or less were asked to provide a reason for why they were working part-time. This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.

Personal annual salary before taxes and other deductions:
5/19. Personal annual salary before taxes and other deductions: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
$0 - $5,000 718 4% 748 3%
$6,001 - $10,000 960 5% 716 3%
$11,000 - $15,000 1,178 6% 816 4%
$16,000 - $20,000 1,434 8% 883 4%
$21,000 - $25,000 1,279 6% 859 4%
$26,000 - $30,000 1,454 7% 1,010 5%
$31,000 - $35,000 1,634 8% 1,094 5%
$36,000 - $40,000 1,622 8% 1,215 5%
$41,000 - $45,000 1,747 9% 1,514 7%
$46,000 - $50,000 1,745 9% 1,774 8%
$51,000 - $55,000 1,592 8% 1,717 8%
$56,000- $60,000 1,361 7% 1,711 8%
$61,000- $65,000 1,067 5% 1,683 8%
$66,000- $70,000 670 3% 1,267 6%
$71,000- $75,000 531 3% 1,076 5%
$76,000- $80,000 336 2% 708 3%
$81,000- $85,000 245 1% 525 2%
$86,000- $90,000 152 1% 403 2%
$91,000- $95,000 99 0% 279 1%
$96,000- $100,000 98 1% 283 1%
$101,000- $105,000 85 0% 159 1%
$106,000- $110,000 52 0% 138 1%
$111,000- $115,000 18 0% 63 0%
$116,000- $120,000 368 0% 79 0%
$121,000- $125,000 29 0% 56 0%
$126,000- $130,000 16 0% 35 0%
$131,000- $135,000 18 0% 35 0%
$136,000- $140,000 16 0% 28 0%
$141,000- $145,000 14 0% 22 0%
$146,000- $150,000 23 0% 29 0%
More than $150,000 138 1% 289 1%
Total responses 20,389 22,159

Graduates who identified in 1/15 that they had been offered employment, were employed full time or part time in a paid job, or were self-employed, were asked what their personal annual salary from all employment was before taxes and other deductions (in Canadian dollars). This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.

What type of employment did you have at that time?
20 What type of employment did you have at that time? 2 Years
n %
Permanent 15,505 69%
Temporary/Contract 6,506 29%
Seasonal 410 2%
Total responses 22,421

For questions 6-8/20-23, graduates were asked to answer with respect to the paid job that they considered their primary or main job (at six months for Q 6-8 and 2 years for Q 20-23). Any respondent who indicated that they were employed was asked to respond to these questions, including those in part-time employment who were attending school.

This question (Q20) was only asked of graduates at the two-year mark.

Level of education needed for work:
6/21. Level of education needed for work: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
High school or less 3,500 17% 2,341 10%
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 2,187 11% 2,294 10%
Bachelor’s degree 10,232 50% 11,710 52%
Professional degree 2,266 11% 2,881 13%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 467 2% 683 3%
Graduate degree 669 3% 1,238 6%
No qualifications were specified 1,158 6% 1,072 5%
Other 117 1% 182 1%
Total responses 20,596 22,401

Graduates were asked what level of education was required for the position that they were working in. This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.

How closely was your work related to the skills you developed at university?
7/22. How closely was your work related to the skills you developed at university? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Closely related 9,558 46% 11,938 53%
Somewhat related 7,253 35% 7,518 34%
Not related at all 3,752 18% 2,905 13%
Do not know 45 0% 55 0%
Total responses 20,608 22,416

The ministry splits relatedness into two categories to better reflect a graduate’s outcome. A graduate may now indicate their job’s relatedness to the skills developed at university and the relatedness to the subject matter of their program of study. These tables provide the breakdown of answers of those who responded to these questions

How closely was your work related to the subject matter of the program of study?
8/23. How closely was your work related to the subject matter of the program of study? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Closely related 8,970 44% 10,408 46%
Somewhat related 5,729 28% 6,644 30%
Not related at all 5,874 28% 5,305 24%
Do not know 39 0% 53 0%
Total responses 20,612 22,410


Section B - Not Employed

Were you looking for work?
9/25. Were you looking for work? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes 2,775 43% 1,521 33%
No 3,708 57% 3,144 67%
Total responses 6,483 4,665

If a respondent indicated they were looking for work and they were not in school, they are included in the labour force. Otherwise, if a graduate was not looking for work, they were not included in the graduate employment rate.

Main reason you were not looking for work:
10/26. Main reason you were not looking for work: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Going to school 3,270 88% 2,766 89%
Personal or family responsibilities 154 4% 157 5%
Discouraged with looking for employment 50 1% 33 1%
Other 252 7% 154 5%
Total responses 3,663 3,110

Respondents who identified in 9/25 that they were not looking for work were asked to provide a reason why. This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.


Section C - Additional Schooling

Were you attending school?
11/27 Were you attending school? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes - Going to school full-time 7,017 26% 5,650 21%
Yes - Going to school part-time 1,261 5% 1,545 6%
Not in school 18,804 69% 19,848 73%
Total responses 27,082 27,043

Program enrolled:
12/28. Program enrolled: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 847 10% 779 11%
Bachelor’s degree 856 10% 779 11%
Professional degree 1,660 20% 1,772 25%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 1,042 13% 693 10%
Graduate degree 3,440 42% 3,012 42%
Other 402 5% 350 5%
Total responses 8,247 7,170

Respondents who identified in 11/27 that they were attending school either part time or full time were asked to identify what type of program they were enrolled in. This table provides the breakdown of answers of those who responded to this question.

At what kind of postsecondary institution were you enrolled?
13/29. At what kind of postsecondary institution were you enrolled? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
College in Ontario 1,450 18% 1,169 16%
University in Ontario 5,405 66% 4,341 61%
Other postsecondary institution in Ontario 314 4% 331 5%
Postsecondary institution outside of Ontario 1,079 13% 1,326 19%
Total responses 8,3248 7,163

Respondents who identified in 11/27 that they were attending school either part time or full time were asked to identify what kind of postsecondary institution they were enrolled in. This table provides the breakdown of answers for those who responded to this question.

In addition to the activities outlined above, were you in an unpaid internship or similar type of unpaid position (Six months/2 years) after graduation?
14/30. In addition to the activities outlined above, were you in an unpaid internship or similar type of unpaid position (Six months/2 years) after graduation? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes 1,114 4% 687 3%
No 25,944 94% 26,330 97%
Total responses 27,058 27,017

It was important for Ontario and its universities to understand the incidence of unpaid internships and other types of unpaid positions.

In the period between graduation in 2017 and October 2019, did you complete another postsecondary education credential?
36. In the period between graduation in 2017 and October 2019, did you complete another postsecondary education credential? n %
Yes 7,106 26%
No 19,985 74%
Total responses 27,091

What credential did you complete during that period?
37 What credential did you complete during that period? n %
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 1,004 14%
Bachelor’s degree 444 6%
Professional degree 1015 14%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 1,448 20%
Graduate degree 2,649 37%
Other 520 7%
Total responses 7,080

Respondents who identified they had completed another credential were asked what type of credential they completed. This table provides the breakdown of answers for those who responded to this question.

The Ontario government is interested in the outcomes of underrepresented groups in the labour market. The questions below, were added to understand the outcomes of first-generation students, students with disabilities, and Aboriginal Students.

Have any of your parents/guardians ever completed a credential at a university or college?
38 Have any of your parents/guardians ever completed a credential at a university or college? n %
Yes 19,152 71%
No 7,114 26%
Unsure 621 2%
Total responses 26,887

Do you consider yourself to have a physical, mental health or learning disability?
34 Do you consider yourself to have a physical, mental health or learning disability? n %
Yes 2,971 11%
No 22,594 84%
Prefer not to respond 1,347 5%
Total responses 26,912

Do you want to self-identify as an Aboriginal Person? (An Aboriginal person is considered a person related to, or descended from, the Original peoples of Canada).
35a Do you want to self-identify as an Aboriginal Person? (An Aboriginal person is considered a person related to, or descended from, the Original peoples of Canada). n %
Yes 471 2%
No 26,363 98%
Total responses 26,834

Select the description(s) that you self-identify with:
35b Select the description(s) that you self-identify with: n %
First Nations (Status/Non-Status Indian) 240 55%
Métis 144 33%
Inuk (Inuit) 17 4%
I use an alternative term to describe my Aboriginal ancestry and/or identity (e.g. Anishinaabe, Treaty #3). 65 15%
Total responses 466


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