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Learning and Earning: Three New Years of Data for Post-Secondary School Graduate Earnings

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In January 2020, LMIC and the Education Policy Research Initiative published a joint report on the early career earnings of Canadian post-secondary education graduates.

Now, three additional years of post-graduate earnings data is available.

Today we updated our Post-Secondary Graduate Earnings Dashboard with two new graduate cohorts (2015 and 2016) and post-graduate earnings data from 2016, 2017 and 2018 and released a new LMI Insight Report, How Much is the Class of 2010 Making?, which explores the new data and covers eight years of post-graduate earnings, from 2011 to 2018.

Our findings show that:

2010 post-secondary graduates continue to see average annual earnings growth of 6.4%.

The gap between male and female earnings continues to widen.

The gap between international and Canadian-born students continues to narrow the longer they spend in the labour force.

How can we use this information?

Easily accessible earnings information can help prospective students make better decisions about what field and level of education to choose. Having mentors and teachers who can recommend a career path can help—and using a tool like the post-secondary graduate or trade certificate holder earnings dashboards can make a real difference!

LMIC’s trades and post-secondary graduates dashboards give students, career changers and new Canadians the ability to make more informed decisions about their options and preferences—potentially leading to higher job satisfaction and better labour market outcomes.

Our previous research on data has shown that information about wages and salaries is what students and recent graduates use most. But it is important to note that these dashboards do not directly measure salaries; they only report the total employment earnings within a calendar year based on tax information.

What’s new and noteworthy in this update?

As previously noted, 2010 post-secondary education graduates’ earnings grew at an annual rate of 6.4%. Graduates with professional and bachelor’s degrees saw the greatest total growth, while college-level certificate and master’s degree holders saw the least growth. (More detailed information on earnings levels and growth rates by fields of study and credentials can be explored on the updated dashboard.)

Once again, we found that women and international students continue to earn less than their Canadian-born male counterparts.

For women, the average earnings gap gradually widens after graduation, while for international students, it decreases.

Women earn 12% less than men shortly after graduation, but 30% less after eight years in the labour force. For international students, the earnings gap starts at 21%, but falls to just 7% in the same time period.

For both women and international students, the gap in earnings is smaller among those with advanced degrees.

Future research and insights into the data

Our previous insight reports and research show that most post-secondary graduates see rapid growth in their earnings in the years following graduation, but this is not the only factor for students to consider when choosing a program or apprenticeship to enroll in.

Program costs, time commitments and other factors should also be considered. Bringing these data together into a comparable and easy-to-access format is an important step forward.

Stay tuned as LMIC undertakes future research to leverage the insights offered by the Education and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform’s data.

Earnings data up to 2018 is now available for post-secondary students in Canada who graduated in 2010.

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Graham Dobbs Photo

Graham Dobbs is an economist at LMIC.

He contributes to projects addressing labour definitions and education-related employment outlooks in the Canadian labour market. 

Illustration by LMIC

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