There’s been a recent run of articles that make the case that students need to think about post-secondary education and the expectations of getting a job once they graduate.

A recent survey by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) found that 70 per cent of Canadian businesses are looking for post-secondary education when they are hiring. Out of that, one-third are looking for applicants with specialized education.

This supports Statistic Canada’s survey that despite the ebbs and flows of workforce hiring, there is still correlation between post-secondary education and employment. What’s changing is that while a post-secondary education could get you the job of your dreams, there seems to be a trend where you have to specialize in a field instead of going for a generalist degree. The survey found that the need for specialization is strong in the oil, gas, mining and construction sectors – sectors that are very hot right now when it comes to job creation.

What’s also changing is the decrease in job availability for people with no post-secondary education. Just 32 per cent of surveyed businesses said they are looking to hire applicants without post-secondary training or education. This is also supported by StatsCan which found that in Canada over a 20 year period from 1990 to 2010, the annual number of jobs filled by post-secondary graduates grew from 1.9 million to 4.4 million, while jobs for Canadians who held a high school diploma or less dropped by 1.3 million.

See the most in-demand skills and degrees on the job market right now.

“Competitiveness, the growing knowledge-based economy and demographic shifts are changing not just the types of jobs being created across the country, but also the skills and educational requirements businesses are looking for in applicants,” said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal, in the BMO press release.

What was interesting is that the BMO survey found that despite looking for a degree, 57 per cent of hires still require basic or significant training and on-the-job experience.

Which suggests the old adage that basic qualifications will get you in the door and once there, a company will have to train you to do the job.

So your parents were right. Stay in school.

But watch out for the 20 university degrees with the highest unemployment rates.