There has been a lot of discussion lately about the value of post-secondary education on the job market – and whether it is worth the expense of time and money to go to university. It turns out that it is.

If you want to increase your earning power throughout the course of your career, you should stay in school. People who have a bachelor’s degree or a college diploma make considerably more money than do those who only have a high school education.

These are the findings from a new report from Statistics Canada just released this morning. The paper titled An Investment of a Lifetime? The Long-term Labour Market Premiums Associated with a Postsecondary Education shows that men with a bachelor’s degree earn an average $732,000 more than those whose education stopped at high school. University educated women make an average of $448,000 more.

For those who obtain a college certificate, the salary boost is $248,000 for men and $180,000 for women, on average.

This chart shows mean annual salaries of men over a 20-year period by their level of education. At age 35, men with bachelor’s degrees earn about $64,000, followed by college graduates $53,000 and high school graduates $44,000.

Early on in their careers graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates ($37,000 compared to $20,000). College graduates also earned considerably more than high school graduates ($28,000).

Both men and women appear to reach their peak earning level at about the age of 54. The wage difference between education levels remains fairly constant over time. Bachelor’s degree graduates consistently earn nearly double the salaries of high school graduates.

Interestingly, there is a much larger wage premium associated with education level for men in the private sector than in the public sector, but for women it is the other way around.

See also:

  • University degrees with 100% employment six months after graduation
  • The highest and lowest paying university degrees
  • _______

    Peter Harris
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