Profile and Labour Market Outcomes of Doctoral Graduates from Ontario Universities

Research Summary:

Ontario Producing More Doctoral Graduates, Higher Earnings than Other Provinces

Ontario is the country’s leading producer of doctoral graduates and a new study shows that they are also out-earning their colleagues in other provinces. 

Nearly 40 per cent of Canada’s doctoral graduates are coming from Ontario institutions and increasing at a rate 5 per cent higher than the rest of the country. As institutions continue to grant more doctoral degrees, a new study by Statistics Canada and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) found that In Ontario, the median earnings of those graduating with PhDs in 2005 were $5,500 higher than their counterparts from other provinces.

Project Description

Profile and Labour Market Outcomes of Doctoral Graduates from Ontario Universities  is based on three cohorts (1995, 2000, 2005) from the National Graduates Survey (NGS).  The NGS interviews graduates of Canadian postsecondary education institutions two years after graduation to examine their labour market experiences. Additional data came from the 2006 Census and the Survey of Earned Doctorates.


Slightly more than 20 per cent of all doctoral graduates intended to leave Canada upon completion of their degree, with most planning to move to the United States. However, within two years more than one-quarter of graduates who had moved to the United States had returned to Canada, particularly those from Ontario. In addition, graduates who lived and worked in Canada for two years after graduation earned approximately $11,000 more annually than those who moved to the United States.

More than 75 per cent of Ontario’s recent doctoral graduates were employed in the public sector, particularly educational services, including a significant majority working for universities. Nearly two-thirds of Ontario doctoral graduates initially pursued a PhD with the goal of becoming a university professor, despite the overall reduction in full-time tenured or tenure-track positions. 

In Ontario, 34 per cent of all doctoral graduates had a mother tongue other than English or French, more than any other province and steadily increasing over the past 20 years. The most notable increase came between 1995 and 2005 with the proportion of graduates with a non-official language mother tongue more than doubling. Nearly 30 per cent of these graduates were Chinese speaking.

While women doctoral graduates earned as much as men in Ontario, there are still gender clusters in traditionally female dominated disciplines such as psychology and social sciences, education, and life sciences. In engineering, a traditionally male dominated field, women made up only 20 per cent of all graduates.

Profile and Labour Market Outcomes of Doctoral Graduates from Ontario Universities  was prepared by Louise Desjardins, Statistics Canada, Tourism and Centre for Education Statistics Division.