Science, arts grads most likely to pursue another degree: study

Statistics Canada report is the first of its kind since the recession

In 2010, four out of ten graduates continued post-secondary education. Photo: Nikki Jamieson

Graduates in life sciences, psychology, math and the humanities are the most likely to return to school, according to data from Statistics Canada.

The study acknowledged a variety of factors used by students in their decision — educational demands from employers, difficulty finding a job and personal interest. But it suggested a link between their choice of study and their employment prospects.

The employment rates for students in those programs ranged from 84 per cent to 90 per cent, compared to 92 per cent for all graduates holding a bachelor’s degree.

The report, Graduating in Canada: Profile, labour market outcomes and student debt of the class of 2009/2010, is the first National Graduation Survey report since the 2008 downturn. It is based on information collected from the 2013 National Graduates Survey, which examines the graduates three years after they graduated from a post-secondary education.

Almost 50 per cent of those graduating with bachelor degrees, had gone on to get further education. The study looked at graduates from the class of 2010.

“We only looked at those who had not returned to school,” said Sarah Jane Ferguson, an analyst with the Centre for Education Statistics analyst and the study’s co-author. “That way we got a really direct link between what level they graduated in, what they had studied and then their employment rates (and) their earnings.”

One student says it’s tricky to navigate the educational requirements of the job market.

“The market is really geared to being educated, but at the same time, is really competitive, even if you have a Ph.D,” said Gabby Peyton, a 2010 Memorial University graduate, with a master’s degree, currently attending the University of King’s College. “ I was too qualified for certain jobs but under qualified for other jobs.”

Master’s and doctoral students were more likely to get jobs in their fields, 92 and 96 per cent respectively, compared to those with bachelor’s or college degrees.

Money matters

Master’s grads earned $20,000 more than bachelor’s grads, while doctorates earned only $5,000 more than master’s grads. College grads earned about $41,000 a year, and bachelor’s grads earned about $53,000.

The wage gap still exists between the genders at all levels of education, although the gap does shrinks as education levels go up, with doctoral women earning only two per cent less than their male counterparts.

Student debt also goes up depending on education, with college grads owing $14,900, bachelor and master’s grads owing over $26,000, and doctorate graduates owing $41,100.