All things come to an end—both good and bad. For hundreds of thousands of post-secondary students who are graduating this spring, the pressure is on. Some students are hoping to pass all their classes and make sure they can graduate on time; while others are doing their best to stay on the Dean’s list, finish their co-op, and land that job. For the majority, the prospect of a job search, long-term employment, or perhaps even a career in your field is a welcome relief after years of time, money, and energy spent, but it is a reality not seen by all.
Described as the “end of a golden age” by Andrew Jackson, a professor of Social Justice at York University, earning a degree no longer translates into a decent job. As the last year of my undergrad nears its end, I recall many similar articles that have sparked doubt in the back of my mind, as job availability has plummeted since the days of yesteryear. Since the 1980′s, high-paying jobs have only increased by 5% while low and middle-wage jobs have seen a 40% increase. Still, you don’t have to go back that far, as the 2008 recession remains palpable. Unfortunately, this means that many students will find themselves mismatched in service jobs, or jobs that have little to do with their area of study. Even worse, they could remain unemployed with great debt to shoulder. While some are quick to suggest that this unfortunate circumstance is merely due to students’ choice in their area of study, there are other other economic considerations. Jackson also notes:
“A Statistics Canada study recently reported that between 2000 and 2011, the wages of university graduates rose even more slowly than those of less-educated workers. The pay premium for a university graduate compared with a non-graduate has fallen to 41 per cent from 47 per cent for men, and to 55 per cent from 61 per cent for women. The premium has eroded most for younger workers.”
With these kinds of prospects, I feel as a student, you just have to put your nose to the grindstone and do your best—in your studies, in your networking, and in looking for creative ways to get noticed in the job market. With brutal competition these days, an undergraduate degree is not often enough, and I find my peers pursuing post-graduate applied studies at the local college, as well as pursuing their master’s degree and beyond. As for me, I’ve decided to postpone any further studies at this time, while I see where my knowledge, skills and experience will take me.
Back to studying!
Photo credit: Uwaterloo.ca