University Employment Outcomes, Graduation and Student Loan Default Rates

2020-21 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.

2020-21 Ontario University Graduate Survey respondents graduated in 2018. Respondents were surveyed between November 2020 and March 2021, 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 84, 828 graduates, 79, 637 were surveyed and 28,033 responded resulting in a 35.2% 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.

2020-21 Ontario University Graduate Survey: Results for 2018 Graduates

2018 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 28,033 20,478 757 2,041 21,235 23,276 91.2%
2 years 28,033 21,166 562 1,703 21,728 23,431 92.7%

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] 6,766 24% 5,362 20%
Offered employment 757 3% 562 2%
Employed in a Paid Job (PT/FT) 19,869 71% 20,365 75%
Self-employed 609 2% 801 3%
Total responses 28,001 27,090

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 5,509 26% 3,961 18%
No 15,714 74% 17,747 82%
Total responses 21,223 21,708

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 17,321 82% 18,141 84%
No 3,883 18% 3,552 16%
Total responses 21,204 21,693

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 1,419 37% 1,548 44%
Illness or disability 42 1% 73 2%
Personal or family responsibilities 83 2% 87 2%
Unable to find full-time work/ only job found/ insufficient business 1,642 43% 1,122 32%
Travelling 75 2% 29 1%
Unpaid internship 37 1% 30 1%
Personal preference 313 8% 254 7%
Other 247 6% 390 11%
Total responses 3,858 3,533

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 - $5,000 787 4% 1,077 5%
$6,001 - $10,000 1,090 5% 832 4%
$11,000 - $15,000 1,261 6% 814 4%
$16,000 - $20,000 1,349 6% 824 4%
$21,000 - $25,000 1,384 7% 879 4%
$26,000 - $30,000 1,517 7% 948 4%
$31,000 - $35,000 1,525 7% 938 4%
$36,000 - $40,000 1,751 8% 1,259 6%
$41,000 - $45,000 1,689 8% 1,536 7%
$46,000 - $50,000 1,674 8% 1,613 8%
$51,000 - $55,000 1,478 7% 1,720 8%
$56,000- $60,000 1,442 7% 1,740 8%
$61,000- $65,000 1,125 5% 1,685 8%
$66,000- $70,000 794 4% 1,249 6%
$71,000- $75,000 563 3% 1,062 5%
$76,000- $80,000 380 2% 740 3%
$81,000- $85,000 244 1% 509 2%
$86,000- $90,000 183 1% 397 2%
$91,000- $95,000 85 0% 281 1%
$96,000- $100,000 120 1% 300 1%
$101,000- $105,000 62 0% 172 1%
$106,000- $110,000 53 0% 146 1%
$111,000- $115,000 32 0% 60 0%
$116,000- $120,000 42 0% 76 0%
$121,000- $125,000 21 0% 54 0%
$126,000- $130,000 21 0% 47 0%
$131,000- $135,000 20 0% 26 0%
$136,000- $140,000 25 0% 20 0%
$141,000- $145,000 15 0% 31 0%
$146,000- $150,000 22 0% 36 0%
More than $150,000 180 1% 317 1%
Total responses 20,943 21,388

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 15,023 69%
Temporary/Contract 6,335 29%
Seasonal 344 2%
Total responses 21,702

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 3,437 16% 2,178 10%
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 2,179 10% 2,081 10%
Bachelor’s degree 10,850 51% 11,361 52%
Professional degree 2,302 11% 2,848 13%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 507 2% 692 3%
Graduate degree 616 3% 1,286 6%
No qualifications were specified 1,187 6% 1,096 5%
Other 141 1% 164 1%
Total responses 21,219 21,706

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 10,066 47% 11,941 55%
Somewhat related 7,343 35% 7,038 32%
Not related at all 3,746 18% 2,649 12%
Do not know 67 0% 75 0%
Total responses 21,222 21,703

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 9,440 44% 10,350 48%
Somewhat related 5,921 28% 6,402 29%
Not related at all 5,804 27% 4,864 22%
Do not know 58 0% 87 0%
Total responses 21,223 21,703


Section B - Not Employed

Were you looking for work?
9/25. Were you looking for work? 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Yes 2,965 44% 2,375 44%
No 3,794 56% 2,973 56%
Total responses 6,759 5,348

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 3,322 88% 2,591 88%
Personal or family responsibilities 138 4% 141 5%
Discouraged with looking for employment 47 1% 45 2%
Other 257 7% 173 6%
Total responses 3,764 2,950

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 7,802 28% 5,768 21%
Yes - Going to school part-time 1,339 5% 1,503 6%
Not in school 18,824 67% 19,778 73%
Total responses 27,965 27,049

Program enrolled:
12/28. Program enrolled: 6 Months 2 Years
n % n %
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 879 10% 730 10%
Bachelor’s degree 1,245 14% 581 8%
Professional degree 1,873 21% 1,827 25%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 1,044 11% 685 9%
Graduate degree 3,671 40% 3,117 43%
Other 403 4% 308 4%
Total responses 9,115 7,248

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 1,447 16% 1,111 15%
University in Ontario 6,264 69% 4,518 62%
Other postsecondary institution in Ontario 298 3% 280 4%
Postsecondary institution outside of Ontario 1,107 12% 1,335 18%
Total responses 9,116 7,244

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 1,221 4% 604 2%
No 26,719 96% 26,409 98%
Total responses 27,940 27,013

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 7,020 26%
No 20.056 74%
Total responses 27,076

What credential did you complete during that period?
37 What credential did you complete during that period? n %
Postsecondary certificate or diploma 1,027 15%
Bachelor’s degree 470 7%
Professional degree 941 13%
Post-graduate certificate or diploma 1,386 20%
Graduate degree 2,667 38%
Other 511 7%
Total responses 7,002

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 19,671 71%
No 7,355 26%
Unsure 758 3%
Total responses 27,784

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 3,418 12%
No 22,831 82%
Prefer not to respond 1,580 6%
Total responses 27,829

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 502 2%
No 27,231 98%
Total responses 27,733

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) 243 52%
Métis 170 36%
Inuk (Inuit) 14 3%
I use an alternative term to describe my Aboriginal ancestry and/or identity (e.g. Anishinaabe, Treaty #3). 76 16%
Total responses 503


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