Increasingly, Canadian students are facing difficult decisions regarding their career paths and finding gainful employment after graduation. Proper data is needed for students to make informed career decisions, and it is also essential to facilitate evidence-based employment policy at all levels of government. Despite the difficulties youth and students have continued to face in securing high quality employment, there is no consistent nation-wide data to address the issue. There is also a lack of data on the local, regional, and provincial contexts for youth employment issues.
These information gaps hinder the development of policies, programs and initiatives that address the underlying causes of prolonged unemployment, the perceived draw- backs some employers may hold about hiring students and the reasons youth and recent graduates may face difficulties connecting to employment networks. There have been some relevant labour market information surveys over the years, including the National Graduates Survey (NGS) and Follow-up of Graduates (FOG), Access and Support to Education and Training Survey (ASETS), Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and the National Apprenticeship Survey (NAS). One of the more useful tools to examine youth employment transitions, the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) was discontinued in 2009. Likewise, the ASETS and SED are currently inactive. The Canadian Labour Force Survey is only partially useful because it excludes those who live on reserves or in rural areas. The NGS has undergone recent changes in terms of the frequency of data collection and inconsistencies in the intervals at which the survey is conducted makes the data less reliable and harder to interpret.
The Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information’s 2009 report recommended that the federal government improve the national statistical system to provide more reliable labour market data for all provinces and territories. Recommendations related to students included creating an education section in the main Labour Market Information portal for specific types of users, making considerable efforts to link educational training and opportunities to career outcomes, working with provincial governments to collect educational Labour Market Information and collecting and disseminating educational outcomes routinely.
To provide students with the information they need to make informed decisions about their education and employment opportunities and to ensure that government programs aimed at improving student and recent graduate employment are grounded in evidence, CASA recommends:
- The federal government implement the Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information’s recommendations pertaining to data collection, in order to better capture the complexities of youth, student and new entrant employment, unemployment and underemployment.
- The federal government review how it collects Labour Market Information and how it establishes high-demand fields, in an attempt to help students make informed decisions about their post-secondary education course of study.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Policy Paper: Student (Un)Employment in Canada – Canadian Alliance of Student Associations