Canadian Manufacturing

Report: Graduates with specialized training earn higher salaries than peers

The Conference Board of Canada says that graduates with training in technical fields are making more than $60,000 in entry level positions, and co-op programs are helping employers hire these highly skilled individuals


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OTTAWA—A new report by The Conference Board of Canada found that the highest average starting salaries for new graduates are in roles requiring specialized training: geology (mean of $69,736) followed by engineering positions (mean of $65,183).

The report, New to the Workforce: Compensating and Developing Recent-Graduate and Student Employees, says that recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn an average annual starting salary in the range of $45,000 to $69,000.

These numbers are slightly lower for those with a college degree and higher for those with graduate degrees.

“Many young Canadians are experiencing difficulties integrating into the workforce or are underemployed in the current job market,” said Allison Cowan, director, Compensation Research Centre, The Conference Board of Canada.

The unemployment rate remains highest among young Canadians, and about one in five of them are underemployed or working part-time involuntarily.

“Despite these difficulties, many organizations are actively seeking highly educated millennials and are increasingly willing to pay a premium for new graduates to mine their specialized skill sets in areas such as technology and engineering,” Cowan said.

Hourly pay rates for co-op students, interns and summer students range by level of education: Co-op students in high school receive an average hourly rate of $16.41; whereas those enrolled in a Master’s program make an average of $23.33 per hour.

Other Findings:

  • The highest starting salaries in corporate positions can be found in law, and the lowest average starting salaries are in administrative support roles.
  • Over a quarter of organizations bridge their co-op students, interns and summer students into full-time positions.
  • 40 per cent of organizations surveyed hired employees from co-op programs permanently.
  • Lack of advancement opportunities is reported as the top reason new graduates leave an organization.

With rates of retirement expected to reach almost one-tenth of the workforce over the next five years, employers will be looking to younger workers to fill entry-level positions.


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