Which university graduates find jobs most easily?

University degrees with 100% employment six months after graduation

Peter Harris|

Good news for grads. While some sectors hire more graduates – and pay higher salaries – than others, most students end up working in their field. Here are the hottest (and highest paying) university degrees.

The Council of Ontario Universities recently conducted a survey of university graduates to create a snapshot of their post-school careers. The study reached out to 70,845 students who graduated in 2010 to find out how they were doing six months after finishing school, and then again two years after graduation.

Contrary to much of what we here about underemployment in the news lately, it turns out that the majority of grads were employed within the six month time frame – and almost all of them were working two years after leaving school. Six months after graduation, the average employment rate for graduates of university undergraduate programs was 86.5%.

Six university programs with 100% employment in six months

  • Dentistry
  • Forestry
  • Optometry
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Medicine (98%)
  • Pharmacy (98%)

The graduates also report that in most cases the skills they learned in school are related to those that they use on the job. Six months after leaving school, 76% of graduates employed full-time said that their job is either closely or somewhat related to what they studied in school. By the two-year mark, that number had climbed to 82%.

Six months after finishing school, the average salary for graduates of undergraduate degree programs was $42,668 a year. After just 18 more months on the workforce, this average salary had climbed by 15% to $49,277 a year. The average Canadian salary is $47,745 right now.

Unsurprisingly, those degrees that have full employment have a high-demand for workers, so graduates in these fields also earn considerably more than the average pay rate soon after entering the job market.

The highest earning degrees six months after graduating

  • Optometry ($90,000)
  • Dentistry ($83,000)
  • Pharmacy ($75,000)
  • Veterinary ($65,000)
  • Nursing, Medicine, Law ($58,000)

According to this survey, many university degree programs have an over 90% employment rate two years after graduation – and those workers earn above average salaries.

This should come as welcome news for recent university graduates looking to crack into the job market. If you’re struggling right now, hang in there. Most grads say that they really do end up working in their field of study.

Of the 70,845 grads surveyed for this study 36% or 25,583 people responded. For more details, you can read the full report on the Council of Ontario Universities website.

Peter Harris
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Category: Latest News & Advice, Student
  • Dustin MacDonald

    What a misleading title. You may as well tell people to go get PhDs. Yes, they’re technically University degrees but they’re called Professional programs for a reason: you can’t direct-entry into them.

    • http://www.workopolis.com/ Workopolis

      Hi Dustin – Thanks for the feedback. For this study, all of the degrees mentioned are undergraduate degrees. Likely the employment rates would increase even higher with post-graduate studies especially in the health and engineering fields.

      • Michel Talian

        The fact that only 36% responded, when 64% did not is not much of sampling to make wide claims about employment for undergraduates, without higher than 60% responding. I think these type of stat based claims should be more closely scrutinized and conservative before claims about the percentage of students with undergraduate degrees being hired 6 months to 2 years after graduation.

      • Mark

        Workopolis, you’d be surprised at how many unemployed engineers are out there. Lots of engineers with post-graduate degrees are considered to be ‘overqualified’ for most positions except within their specific niche of study. Which may or may not be commercially and immediately useful.

    • Sarah Bros

      Not true Dustin. You can enter at year 1 into a degree in Forestry. There are many undergraduate programs in forestry in this country. Also, McMaster University offers direct entry into nursing. I believe there are other universities in this province and country that do the same. Check your facts before speaking up.

  • jenil shah

    hey…My name is jenil shah and leaving in India.
    I want to start up my career in canada by working in canada.
    so please educate me for job n work in canada on working visa. please give me some guidence toward the same.
    education: B.pharm
    nationality: Indian
    current residence: Gujarat, India
    contact: +917779034999

    • Guest


    • Manoj

      Jeni Shah, If you have the abilities I would strongly advice that you will be better off pursuing some sort of degree program which favours the Indian jobs market. There are so many opportunities to be found in India today.

      Remember the grass is never greener on the otherside, it may be only a slightly different shade of green!

      • rajesj

        i think life is always be better in canada rather in India , atleast we find grass in canada but in india , we have to look out for a garden where there is no stray animals on the road.

        • Helene Desforges

          My poor you, while you want to come to canada, myself as canadian i want to leave for europe. alot of corruption in Canada , to get a job we have to know someone to be hired .

    • rajesj

      hey jenil i strongly recommend you to go out a live in a better world which do not have politics , corruption , easier life with truthfull ness among people.

      • Vousie

        I’d love to find such a world, but where do I find it? I’ve yet to find such a country.

  • hfwgx

    As a student of work and society I agree with Dustin. While
    the degrees listed are technically undergrad, they ARE professional degrees
    with little actual critical thinking about anything outside solving a technical problem involved. It is not surprising that somany are in the health sciences field either and this makes the article a slapin the face to those of us who choose to broaden our horizons. I’m surprised that engineering fell short on the list as well. I strongly suspect that if you
    follow the money as to who sponsored the survey (i.e. donated) that you will
    find it was various health associations. As for Workopolis’ comment that
    employment rates would likely increase if PhD were included, don’t count on it.
    I have many friends and colleagues severely underpaid and underemployed just to
    put food on the table. Shame Workopolis for leading everyone down the garden

  • Chris Wren

    This is a joke. These professions are the only ones that limit the number of people going into their particular field. Little wonder they appear to have success at providing jobs…they go to the select few that make it into the profession. No competion for the jobs…. just controled numbers.

  • Chris Wren

    They limit the number of people taking the courses…. no competition after they get their positions. What can you expect.

    • Maco

      Not to mention that there is no transparency in most schools with regards to admission criteria; it’s apparently a kind of lottery asto who gets admission after satisfying all other objective criteria like MCAT scores, DAT etc…..

  • arshad

    Great conclusion & wiser comments but one thing is clear be it engineering or forestry it is service to humanity. Optometrist making more money is beleiveable in canada where I attended a course in 1998 in Mississauag ON. (career is 2000) gave the similar result except the job opportunities for the FUNERAL DIRECTOR & GOLF COURSE & CRUISE OPERATOR were high too. Aging population is the reason for the success of these humanities career.

  • Michael K

    Yah sure people are getting jobs after university but lots of those jobs are paying minimum wage!

  • Roustam

    Yes, after 6 months many people with degrees eventually get a job. However there is a question what kind of job: career related or general one, just to keep your pants on?