Back to school 2016 quick facts

More than a million students are heading back to university campuses across the country this fall. Some 300,000 of them will graduate and enter the workforce in 2017, Canada’s sesquicentennial year.

These grads will be equipped with a 21st century education for 21st century workplaces. They will have the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to succeed in a rapidly evolving global job market, and the tools to contribute to building a more inclusive and innovative Canada.

Career-ready grads

  • 80%
    of top jobs

    In 2016, 80% of Canada’s top 25 jobs require a university degree.

    Source: Canadian Business, “Canada’s Best Jobs 2016”
  • 1.4M
    new jobs

    Between March 2008 and March 2016, 1,416,600 net new jobs were created for university graduates. To compare, 526,600 net new jobs were created during the same time period for college and trades graduates combined.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2008-2016.

Global experiences

  • 8/10
    see career benefit

    More than 80% of Canadian hiring managers feel that grads with cross cultural understanding and knowledge of the global marketplace are assets to the competitiveness of their companies. Almost 90% of grads who had a study abroad experience agree that the global knowledge they gained contributed to their career achievements.

    Sources: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014; and Canadian Bureau for International Education, A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education 2014.
  • 3.1%
    of students study abroad

    While 97% of universities offer international experiences, just 3.1% of full time undergraduate students had taken advantage of these opportunities in 2012-13. Canada needs more students to gain the global competencies that employers demand.

    Source: Universities Canada, Internationalization survey, 2014.
  • 70%
    see cost as barrier

    Among surveyed students who did not go abroad as part of their studies, 70% said they would take advantage of global opportunities if they were more affordable and part of their program of study.

    Source: Why don't more Canadian students study abroad?, 2016 Academica Group survey of 1,400 students.
  • $10 B+
    economic impact

    International students contribute more than $10 billion to the Canadian economy every year. Beyond their economic impact, these students bring cultural diversity and global perspectives to Canadian campuses and communities.

    Source: Global Affairs Canada, 2016.

Value of liberal arts

  • 55%
    of leaders are liberal arts grads

    The social sciences and humanities together make up more than half of bachelor’s degrees among current professional leaders with higher education qualifications, across 30 countries and all sectors. Younger leaders (under 45 years) are more likely to hold a degree in social sciences or the humanities.

    Source: British Council, Educational Pathways of Leaders: an international comparison, 2015.
  • 70%
    growth in salary

    A recent study shows that social sciences and humanities grads experience steady growth in earnings throughout their careers. Their salaries increase more than 70% on average over the eight-year period after graduation – similar to engineering and science grads.

    Source: Education Policy Research Initiative, Barista or better? New evidence on the earnings of postsecondary education graduates, 2016.

Soft skills in demand

When evaluating entry-level hires, major employers value soft skills over technical knowledge. These 21st century skills include relationship building, communication and problem solving skills, as well as analytical and leadership abilities – attributes developed and honed through the liberal arts.

Source: Business Council of Canada and Aon Hewitt, Developing Canada’s future workforce: a survey of large private-sector employer, 2016

Enhancing Indigenous student success

  • 33%
    increase of targeted programs

    Canadian universities offer 233 undergraduate programs and 62 graduate-level programs with a focus on Indigenous issues or specifically designed for Indigenous students - a 33% increase since 2013.

    Source: Universities Canada survey of members on Indigenous education, 2015.
  • 86%
    of universities offer targeted services

    These services include academic counselling and peer mentorship to meet the unique needs of Indigenous students.

    Source: Universities Canada survey of members on Indigenous education, 2015.
Universities Canada