Job prospects better for well-rounded grads with solid core skills
by Maddy Marchildon, posted on November 23, 2012
Toronto, TBA: College and university graduates from the Class of 2013 will find an improving job market, especially if they’ve mastered core skills such as teamwork and problem-solving, and are involved in campus activities outside the classroom.

According to a survey of 450 Canadian employers, core skills including communication, analytical ability and a strong work ethic, are most valued by employers.  They also place a slightly higher premium on co-curricular involvement than academic performance, meaning that a well-rounded graduate will have an advantage in the competitive job market.

Graduates will be looking for that advantage because the indicators of improvement in the market are mixed according to the fifth annual Campus Recruitment & Benchmark Survey Report produced by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE), a national non-profit partnership of employer recruiters and career services professionals.  Funding for the report was provided by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

While the overall amount of on-campus employee recruitment will increase, as will the number of offers nationally, there will be a drop in Ontario and British Columbia, adding to already competitive markets.  And despite underemployment and unemployment, there are choice positions going empty. According to the report, many employers were unable to fill the positions they had open. Of the total, 25% of vacant positions were for engineers, while nearly 20% were in banking and finance.  

“These vacant positions are clustered in sectors that are critical to our national economic success, so they may be having a negative effect on productivity,” says Paul D. Smith, the CACEE’s executive director. “We have graduates who can’t find work and employers who can’t find workers, and that is a waste of talent we can’t afford. We have a case of mismatched supply and demand, and it needs to be addressed.”

While there is good news for those looking for careers in arts, entertainment and recreation (sectors showing the greatest growth in positions offered to new graduates this year), the average wage for new university graduate recruits in Canada was down by 5% this year over last, at $51,014, and starting salaries for new graduate hires are not expected to increase significantly in the coming year.

“In 2013, employers will be looking for graduates who have combined out-of-class activities with academic performance,” says Smith. “And applicants who have related work experience will be stars. Good grades are important, but so is balance.”

For further information, please contact:

Paul D. Smith

CACEE Executive Director / pauls@cacee.com, 613-634-2359