Canadian students buoyant about job prospects
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Aug 13, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Canadian students buoyant about job prospects

Post secondary students also expect to pay back student loans in a ‘reasonable time frame’, says D+H study


Call it sheer optimism or the innocence of youth: a new study shows that four in five Canadian students feel positive about job prospects in their chosen field – and most expect to pay back student loans within the first five years of graduation.

And one-quarter also have a very buoyant view of life in the working world, saying they think they will experience less stress at the office than they do at school, says the D+H Canada report released Wednesday.

In Ontario, 77 per cent report they feel positive about job prospects in their field of study while 28 per cent figure they will experience less stress at work than they do at school.

The survey of 752 Canadian high school, post-secondary students and recent graduates focuses on their outlook on life after post-secondary education.

It found a high salary is actually not the top perk a company can offer the next generation of new hires; 62 per cent said they’re more interested in jobs that offer the opportunity to learn new skills versus 57 per cent who put money at the top.

Students also name a flexible schedule and the opportunity to advance quickly, both at 56 per cent, as coveted job benefits, while 37 per cent said they’d like lots of vacation time too.

“The fact that students value the opportunity to learn and develop new skills more than a high salary shows this age group is making choices today that they think will help set them up for success in the future,” said Ralph DeJong, vice president, head of student lending at D+H Canada, a firm that administers student loan and grant programs.

But the research found students today are also pragmatic, with 47 per cent expecting the hardest adjustments when starting a career will be finding work/life balance and learning things they didn’t learn in school, while 32 per cent fear their job won’t be satisfying and 28 per cent dread office politics.

They’re realistic when it comes to salary too: 64 per cent of students in the survey expect to make less than $49,000 and 26 per cent expect less than $30,000. One-quarter of students have higher hopes, expecting to earn more than $50,000 as a starting salary.

The report says students expect their salaries to increase as they gain experience, and found the expectation of increased earning power is more apparent in men. Fifty-four per cent of men expect that in ten years they will earn more than $80,000 compared to only 33 per cent of women.

Eighty-four per cent of students who fund all or part of their post-secondary education with a student loan are optimistic they will pay it back in a “reasonable time frame”, says the study. Fifty-seven per cent expect to pay it back within five years of graduation -- and 29 per cent even expect they’ll pay it back within the first two years after graduation.

“I was pleased to see the optimistic, yet pragmatic outlook students have for life after post-secondary. Students view post-secondary education as an investment that will pay off when they enter the workforce,” said DeJong.

In fact, the report says four in five students think post-secondary education prepares them for the working world.

The survey by Environics Research Group was conducted between April 30 and May 6. The poll has a margin of error within 3 per cent.

Toronto Star

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