EduData – Where graduates work, now including college graduates

Occupations of college graduates in Ontario

18-29 years
30-44 years
45-64 years
Field of Study

Graphic by Carrie Smith.

Last month, we published a well-received visualization that shows the mapping of Ontario university graduates from fields of study to occupations.  Many readers expressed surprise to discover fewer clear pathways than they anticipated.  Graduates end up in all kinds of jobs, regardless of what they studied.  Even in fields with stronger direct pathways, from one-third (education graduates) to a half (health care graduates) work in “other” occupations.

But what about college graduates, we were asked?  The question is important because of the common narrative that colleges are more vocationally focussed and teach directly to the job.  So are the pathways between fields of study and occupations tighter for college graduates?

Our updated visualization adds college data, and lets you toggle between college and university views to compare.   Play with it for a while and you will discover that career pathways are wide ranging for college graduates, as well.

Some quick examples.  Graduates who studied health and are now working in an occupation outside health care: university 47%, college 51%.  Graduates who studied architecture or engineering and are now working outside occupations in architecture, engineering, trades or transportation: university 65%, college 59%.  And so on.  The job hops people make are not always cut and dried.  For example, a nurse now working in sales might be doing so for a pharmaceutical company.  She may still be tapping into her nursing expertise – but the important observation is that she has added to it a new set of job skills more traditionally associated with business graduates.

The conclusion for college graduates is the same as for university graduates: it’s hard to say what kind of work a certificate, diploma or degree might lead to and many pathways exist.

The fine print:  Data are drawn from the Canadian Household Survey (2011).  The graphs represent adults aged 18-64.  College graduates include both public community college graduates and private career college graduates, with the public college graduates far outnumbering their private counterparts.  The relatively small number of college graduates who earned a degree are not included – they show up on the university side. University graduates include those with a bachelor’s degree as their highest credential. For simplicity, people with post-graduate degrees (e.g. master’s and PhD), as well as degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and optometry, were excluded.

3 replies on “EduData – Where graduates work, now including college graduates”

What’s interesting in the college data is that only 16% of college grads are in the trades, processing, manufacturing or primary industries. One suspects that brick layers, carpenters, construction workers, welders etc are trained on the job or in industry sponsored apprenticeship programs.

I suspect the high capital cost of offering trades programs discourages many colleges from offering training for these applied jobs. It costs much less for a college to offer a business program than a welding program I would think. This capital investment barrier could be a contributing factor in the finding that 55% of college graduates work in ‘office’ jobs such as sales, service, business, finance,administration and management.

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