Why some university students are doomed to below-average earnings

Description:  How much will parents spend on school supplies, how much will it cost to go to university or college, and how much debt will that mean for students? These are the questions we’re asking, and good on us for doing so. Education is not so sacrosanct that we shouldn’t look at both benefits and costs.

Source: globeandmail.com

Date: Aug 29, 2013


With tuition costs rising more than inflation on a regular basis, there’s been talk in recent years about whether a postsecondary education is worth the cost. CIBC finds the unemployment rate for graduates to be 1.7 percentage points below those who have only a high school education, but that’s down from a little over three percentage points in the 1990s.

In consulting Statscan data, CIBC found that a bachelor’s degree gets you an average earnings premium of more than 30 per cent over a high school graduate. Yet after-inflation weekly wages for high school and college grads grew at a rate of 13 per cent over the previous decade, compared with just 8 per cent for holders of bachelor degrees.  READ REST OF STORY 


Questions for discussion:

1. How do you feel your field of study at university will fare when you enter the job market? Why?

2.  Do you feel having some training in info systems will help you in your job search to differentiate yourself in the market? Why or  Why Not?


46 thoughts on “Why some university students are doomed to below-average earnings

  1. Lance Rosen

    I feel I am on both sides of the fence on this issue. I am in a combined B.Management and B.Education program. I feel like if I pursue a job in the business world, the chances of getting a well paying job will be better than if I pursue a teaching position. However, with the pay-grid the way it is in Alberta for teachers, if I teach at a school system for 8+ years, my yearly wage will be a decent one. The only thing is with teaching, you have to start somewhere and I feel like a business world wage would be more to start. Admittedly, the starting wage for a first year teacher is higher than a lot of jobs.

    I feel like having info systems training will give me an advantage in the job market. I will be able to identify and perhaps maintain different info systems, as well as help contribute to the overall goals of the organization instead of being a hindrance to them. Some people have no idea what information systems are, while others do and can help contribute.

  2. Justin Shade

    Why are they doomed because may be they did not complete and comprehensive carerer goal. Also, you have to recognize we are in a new era where everthing is dependant on techqnology and energy. Colleges provide most of this type of training, “more technical institute graduates are getting the jobs with higher pay. I am a Native American and where I come from graduates with a degree are in demand and recieving a higher pay. But the demand and need may be different off my borders. The bottom line is technical training is in demand than business managers.

  3. riley hansen

    I feel that when entering the job market, my studies at the university will most definitely pay off. I believe that marketing can be applied to many aspects of many different fields. Knowing the ins and outs of marketing I will be able to be a good asset to a company, by being able to find areas where a company could use improvement or new ideas.

    Along with studying marketing, I believe that having a good grasp on information systems will make me an ever-greater asset to a company. Having this knowledge under my belt and on a resume, should give me an “up” when applying for a job. If an employer sees that along with a marketing degree, I also have a well rounded education branching out in a few different subjects. More knowledge can never hurt.

    I feel that even if I did not peruse a marketing job after university, and I decided to go in a different direction completely, having the schooling and knowledge from taking these courses would set me apart from many potential employees. For an example, if I decided to work a trades job a employer might see me as great asset to the company in a way that, not only could I do manual labor the same as every other worker, I would also have a better grasp on how a company should run and what directions it should take. Thus setting myself apart from many of the other employees, and giving myself a opportunity to make my way up the ladder faster.

  4. Ruzaan du Plooy

    Over the last couple of years I have personally noticed that many of my peers from high school and just the general person that I run into have some what of a post secondary education. Whether that be college or university, it shows that the cultural norm for this century has turned the masses of young intellectual minds towards competing with each other for status, which is most obviously achieved by a higher education. As these masses continue to try to out do each other in hopes that they will come out on top when in an interview, for the next job opportunity, or generally anything that will produce status or revenue. The only problem is the money, everything costs money in this day and age. Even the word “free” doesn’t even own up to its dictionary definition. Unfortunately the money system does not work in everyone’s favor, and this is why not everyone, although almost everyone, is a post secondary graduate. Money runs our lives, its the reason we get up in the morning, the thought that at the end of the day there has to be bread on the table is our main drive. Due to the fact that the job market has turned into such a cut throat, money thirsty monster I can only hope that I have a job when I graduate. This is exactly the reason why I do extra curricular activities in and out of school. Such as volunteer at the soup kitchen or join the debate team, to help aid me in finding a job later in my life. Having an info systems background will hopefully help you find a job beings every single business utilizes technology and you need to be familiar how to use these different types of mediums. In a sense it saves the company you are going to work for time and effort in teaching you how to use the technology, if you already know how. All corporations uses computers and advanced information systems in their day to day operations. Its there for the benefit of the company, to the customer, and to you.

  5. Bryan Litchfield

    As i walked through the career fair at the school today i was filled with confidence and hope, not because i was offered any amazing jobs or found any huge leads, but because almost every company i talked to needed an accountant somewhere in their organization. Whether it was an accounting firm, vivint sales, or even Lethbridge police services, accountants were needed in every one. The difficulty i see is not finding employment once i am finished school, rather finding the best firms or industry jobs to work in. As a graduate of the UofL accounting program i will have the skills and knowledge needed to begin work as an accountant, but so will hundreds of others, as well as hundreds of students from other Universities in the province. What gets the good jobs is not only the degree you have or the marks you have, but the real world knowledge and experience that you can apply to the benefit of the company. A knowledge of information systems is something that can help me as an accounting graduate be noticed by the firms and industries offering the better jobs. I can have more use to the company as a whole rather than just a number cruncher or pencil pusher, but can provide useful ideas and strategies to allow the firm to operate at its most effective level. With so many people graduating with university degrees it is easy to see why graduates are having trouble finding jobs. As students we need to find a way to rise above the rest and become a desirable employee. I feel my education here at the university is well worth the money i am paying for it, but i am not riding on that alone to find me my dream job.

  6. Alex Schow

    I feel that studying accounting will, and already has given me a significant advantage compared to others when it is related to getting a job. One of the reasons for this is that once in accounting there are so many doors that become options for you. Not only is this present in the multiple jobs that exist in accounting profession, but outside of accounting with the same knowledge you know how the inner workings of a business works and can therefore manage a business with a lot more ease than that of someone that is not familiar with accounting. My own personal opinion is that accounting majors have a greater advantage over those that are business majors. When I was attending college I took a lot of courses that were strictly business related. I started to notice a common trend. That is that the majority of business classes are all about motivating you to want to become a business person. Once you already have that drive to go out and conquer the business world I feel that having knowledge of accounting would be for more beneficial than just being a general manager of a business. I like it to driving cars. You can either know how all the inner workings of a car works, but not drive it…. accountants. Or with general business you can drive the car and not completely understand how the vehicle works. Or lastly running a business will having the proper accounting knowledge is likened to driving a car while having the knowledge of how it works. A deadly combination. I feel that info systems training will be quite beneficial. Because this is a fast paced ever changing world, and info systems is key to better understanding how to use all of the endless information that is within your grasp. The world needs professional orginizers!!!

  7. Joel Heyland

    Upon graduating university, I feel confident that their will be jobs available for me relating to my fields of study. That said, I understand that – degree, or no degree – their are principles that need to be lived by in order to be more employable, and financially sound in whatever field you pursue. When the opportunity arose for me to combine 2 majors – marketing and new media, I readily accepted knowing that having business and artistic skills would not only support, strengthen and employ my already existing passions, but be a more lucrative option despite whatever economic conditions our countries facing. There will always be a need for marketing, whether it’s for the sale of luxury goods , or promoting social issues which are going to be even more pertinent in the near future. It’s also great to have practical employable skills in the field of new media, though I’m sure a lot of those jobs pay around the “median” discussed in this article. The work ethic, discipline, and ability to critically think that comes from sincere devotion to any university degree should allow an individual to move past the median that high school graduates earn. I’m a firm believer in holistic learning. I think that basic training in information systems alone is not enough to have a serious competitive advantage, but if it were coupled with basic computer science skills (knowing what’s attainable in the technological world, and how to develop informations systems) would greatly differentiate oneself from competitors in the job market. It’s important to be updated on how business are using information systems to compete and prosper. One advantage of having basic training in information systems would be that you could be conscious of innovative solutions to business problems (like the UTZ chip employee who suggested they upgrade their technology) without necessarily knowing the engineering behind developing informations systems. Your ideas could be outsourced to someone with the skills to turn your idea into reality, and you could save your employer some costs!

  8. victor olayioye

    This is a really important issue in our society today and i can totally relate to this article. I remember when i was about to enter the university about a year ago. I told my parents i wanted to study drama.and my Dad looked at me and laughed hysterically. I come from a country where a child’s university education is solely the responsibility of the parent, and my dad laughed because he knew he wasn’t going to pay so much money for his son to study drama. He ended up convincing me to study accounting which i am studying today at the university of lethbridge I feel when i end up graduating with an accounting degree the employment sector will be really competitive because a lot of awareness is going on concerning studying something that would end up being a high paying job. Most accountants now are writing one professional exam or the other now in other to have an edge over other people in the accounting sector.Finally having some training in info systems would definitely be an advantage as a lot of companies would would love to hire a person with a degree in accounting and info systems rather than having to hire a separate info systems person.Therefore it is really important to have something really unique to distinguish yourself in whatever profession you find yourself.

  9. Aaron Audette

    i feel OK about my degree i will get. I will have a B. mgt. Finance degree minoring in info systems which i hope is a strong enough education to get me the job i desire. i have also begun thinking about applying to a masters program down the road to further my education but i believe i need some experience in the business world before making the next step. Info systems is one of the best minors offered at this school i believe and is a crucial skill to master. The growing standard of computer knowledge is enormous and rapidly becoming the most integral part of daily life. The popularity of technology will not stop in my opinion and requires an understanding of how it works to stay on the cutting edge.

  10. Annalise Janhunen

    Upon considering this article and the discussion questions provided, I couldn’t help but think that the education I am receiving and the investment I am putting into my education is so worth it. Regardless of the statistics which state that high school students are making the same amount of money as University grads, there is so much value in the education being received in University. As for how my field of study will fare once I enter the job market, I believe there will always be a need for new graduates. Any organization that is continuously growing and wanting to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace will want to tap into the resources provided by new graduates.
    As a Human Resource Management major I have no doubt that there will be a need for my field of study once I graduate. As long as I am a well-rounded individual with work experience, volunteer experience and my grades reflect dedication to my education, I will find a job. As long as one is a dedicated individual who is willing to put in the time and effort to get the job they want, they will achieve just that.

  11. Lyndsey Schultz

    After spending five years of practical experience in my chosen field of accounting, I feel as though the cost of a university degree is well worth the cost. This is primarily the reasoning behind my return to studies, as I did not feel satisfied with my earnings without the the aditional education required for an accounting professional. Information systems will help me to better understand the underlying ways in which a public practice can operate efficiently and productively compared to a practice without any type of information system control.

  12. Jesslyn

    When I first decided to attend a post-secondary institution, I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to end up. I decided to go with business as a more general study. The economy always needs business students which makes it fairly easy to get a job. This can also back fire. With an increasing number of business students entering the field, there are a huge variety of choices when an employer is looking at new hires. After completing the business admin diploma in 2012, I took a year off with the intent of getting an internship to help me decide what to major in. As I applied to many, being a student with no experience it was very difficult to even get through to the interview process. I was stuck without a job, without experience and after spending over $10,000 on an education which did not benefit me at all. It took me a few months until I finally landed an admin job with a private business. I spent a year there, learning and developing as an employee/individual. After adding this fresh admin experience on my resume, I got a call from the employer I originally planned to work for. This has taught me education is just a piece of paper without having something to back it up. There are many individuals that have high paying jobs with no education just based on their experience. It takes a balance of both to be successful in the world of business.

  13. Jessika Hayward

    I believe this is a great argument for anyone who hasnt done any post-secondary education thus far, however as a marketing major i am confident that i have the advantage. After taking several computer classes and business classes, someone with only a high school diploma would not have the skills and experience as someone with a degree. I have faith in companys for respecting the hard work students do and the money they spend. I think that school is a fair price considering the government pays up to 70% of the actual costs. Because of the variety of classes students must take, the skill level is very high once you hit graduation. Any business can see that you are a valuable asset that deserves higher pay and credibility from their degree. Info systems will also help me in the future because technologies are constantly changing and when you can learn the skills necessary, you will be a greater use to your employer. Once again showing you have several skills that make you more dependable as an employee. As technology changes throughout time i also feel that post secodnary students have the upper hand at constantly staying in check with new programs and systems. Either way i believe i will have an advantage and will not have any issues getting a job with a substantial income.

  14. Joanne

    I believe that having a Information Technologies background is a must in todays society as technology is forever changing and evolving. Having the skills and basic knowledge will help you in your career however with todays growing competition it is more important to keep up with the constant change that seems to occur on a regular basis with technology.

  15. Joanne

    I am quite concerned if my hard earned education does not pay off in the long run, however i feel that i have an advantage in the market today as i am of First Nations headed in a career path that will not only be beneficial to me but also my Community. Having a First Nations governance and Accounting background i believe puts me in a secure position so to speak as many First Nation communities and employers are looking for my abilities and skills to help liason between the two.

  16. Jeffrey Jensen

    This is actually pretty scary to think about as we spend so much money on classes and may not make the payoff worth wild. I feel like business degrees are so common that the competition out there is extremely stiff and some will be left in the dust with a loan and a dead end job just to make the payments. I have worked at the Firto-Lay factory while i have been going to school and i know for a fact that some of the lower jobs like packing or cleaning can get up to $24- 25 an hour and that obviously can be pretty temping for some. That follows with this article where some of the people can get paid more for a job you just need a high school diploma vs. a degree. I took a clerk job at the Frito-Lay and was getting paid $20 an hour so I was already making less then most the people that work there,

  17. NicolleKeim

    Through high school, students are told to work hard and get good grades to ensure they get accepted into university or college. Although this may be true and you do need exceptional grades to get into university, I can understand why this article has brought up so much controversy. Being enrolled in business to get my Human Resource degree, I may find it challenging to get a job right after university. In this field, I may not see a substantial increase in pay compared to someone out of high school, experience is vital. Many companies will be looking for experienced workers rather than someone with just a degree. Although, if you have a background within certain field and are earning your degree within it, it will be even more significant. I think that getting your degree in any field though is important because once you have it; no one can take it away from you. The reasoning behind this is that maybe a degree now is not as important in some fields, but it may be in the future.

    Since technology has had such a substantial impact on our everyday lives, it is crucial to keep up with it. I think that having training in information systems will have an influence when I look for a job. Human resources are built around information systems and understanding them is crucial. Keeping up with the technology will be important in any firm. Since information systems are growing so fast, companies need to be able to understand them to keep them secure.

  18. Anthony

    There is an ongoing joke between my friends and I about students who are getting degrees in fields we would consider jobless opportunities. I won’t mention any majors in hopes to avoid offending anyone. I used to consider the field of commerce/management and more specifically accounting to be the gateway into a plethora of great paying jobs. The fact of the matter is I thought this way along with thousands of other accounting students every year. Do I still believe there are jobs in my chosen field? Absolutely. The reality of situation is I won’t be making near what I thought I would initially and the competition to obtain a coveted entry level position is fierce. I think one of the best ways to succeed in obtaining a job after graduation is to work hoard now to differentiate yourself and make yourself appear valuable for future employers. Getting good grades definitely helps. In some organizations to help narrow down potential candidates they create a minimum GPA requirement and this helps them get rid of hundreds of resumes. No matter how great your resume looks if you don’t have a GPA above their minimum you don’t have a chance. I also understand that you don’t need a 4.0 to get a job. I think if you really push yourself during your studies and achieve a good grade you will have a fighting chance. Also obtaining skills outside of your specific field of study that can help you stand out. To answer the question “Do you feel having some training in info systems will help you in your job search to differentiate yourself in the market?” Absolutely. When taken into account that every business is full of information systems, it could only benefit you to get training in these areas. Doing this, seeking other experienced based opportunities and getting good grades are sure to help a graduate student obtain a job that can lead them to a succesful prosperous future. That’s what I think anyway.

  19. Shannon Storey

    As a general rule we are told as high school students that if we get a good education at a good and reputable university it will garnish us a better paying job, at least that is what I was told when I was in school. As this article discusses this may not be the case. However the truth still remains that unless an education or perhaps even a degree or two is attained there is still a ceiling on the type of job that you can get. I am a mature student, meaning that I graduated from high school over 24 years ago. I have found that while experience is good, education is better. I have been working in the accounting field for 10 years, first as an AP Administrator and more recently as an Accounting Technician. This experience only gets me so far and then any advancement that I want to make has to happen after I receive my degree. It is important to really explore and define if going to school is going to be advantageous in the end. Education is costly and the job market is highly competitive. We need to give ourselves the biggest advantage that we can in order to succeed in our chosen field. The areas that need to be explored are not just financial, there are other areas of cost that are involved. Home life – students that have spouses or children – what is the cost to them as well. Social life – we all sacrifice to get the grades that we want and need in order to secure the job that we want. Finances need to be planned for when going to University; but finances aside it is my belief and experience that the education I am receiving will indeed take me to where I want to go.

  20. Richard Reimer

    Being an international student, I can really feel the high price I have to pay to get an education. Many times along the way I have stopped and considered if the price I was paying was worth the knowledge I was learning. I’m still here, believing that this education will take me further than being a floor covering installer. My field of study is accounting and over the last few years I have seen how the playing field is being leveled and now days a lot of young and even older people get a chance to further their education. Some of them want a better job and some are just pursuing their dreams of becoming a professional, and to get some kind of a degree in their field of study. The more people going to school, the more competition there is for me. Just because there is competition on the field doesn’t mean that people will just give up and settle for something less. Competition can be an incentive to work harder, and to raise the bar for the other generations to come. Having a degree and earning good money is important to me, but the education that I have received is far more important than not having an education at all. This knowledge will help me make better business decisions and will guide to a more rewarding life. I will be patiently waiting, and watching closely the opportunities that will present themselves to me, so I can use the knowledge I have learned to make a difference.

  21. Emily

    Upon reading this article, I was reminded of what a reality this issue is becoming for University graduates. I have seen many people faced with these exact questions when entering the job market. As far as my own post-secondary experience, I went straight into college after graduating high school. I did not and have not since questioned this decision. Although I had initially planned on taking a very different, more arts/humanities based route, I ended up enrolling in the Business Administration program at the college. After graduating with my diploma, I transferred here to the University to receive my degree. I would say that some of my interests were more in line with a different field of study, however I felt that this choice would yield much greater opportunities in the job market. I see many benefits to studying accounting. There really will not be a time when accounting services are not needed. Even in an economic downslide, businesses still need accounting services. I can see the appeal of choosing not to pursue a university degree and get a decently paying job, but I try to look at it with a broader perspective. Education is an opportunity cost; I am confident that my choice of study will in turn reward me for the time and money invested in my education.

    I do think that having some training in information systems will help to differentiate me as I search a job in the field of accounting. At a minimum, being educated and aware of the risks and dangers as well as preventative security measures is very valuable. The business world is rapidly progressing technologically, and in the accounting field there is a huge importance placed on confidentiality and safety of information and files. Having an understanding of how to protect the vast amounts of data and information, and the importance of taking these security measures, will no doubt help me be seen as a more valuable potential employee. Further, the ability to manage servers, internal networks and other aspects of information systems would be a definite asset in obtaining a higher position in employment within an organization.

  22. Shine Landayan

    Upon reading the article, I will say that I agreed at some points and disagreed on the others. I finished Business Administration Program, majored Accounting, at the Lethbridge College and expected that right after I graduate College, I will be an Accountant in a company or atleast work at a bank. But I ended up working at a store that a High School graduate could work just because I had no choice. I surfed the internet to look for an accounting job in Lethbridge but they all require a degree. I also applied in different banks to be a bank teller but I also ended up in failure. Why? It’s because my choices of job had narrowed because my mind was only set to look for accounting jobs. High school graduates can get job very easily bacause they have wider mindsets. I believe that there are still a lot of jobs available even in Lethbridge. Even if you go through job banks, there are a lot of Marketing, Architectural, Engineering, Computer, Sciences and Accounting jobs. Almost all of them required us to finish a certain degree which made me think that being able to graduate in a University still has a lot more benefits than High School students. But the problem is that almost all of these jobs also want employees that have years of experience too. For students that just graduated that didn’t have outsanding marks from university, it will be hard to get an experience. It’s true that when in comes to salary, some companies offer higher rate than the other companies even if their employees only finished High School but that’s not always the case. And even University graduates can do what High School graduates can do.

  23. Scott Eriksen

    I personally don’t believe that the rising levels of tuition in Canada will play a very large role in the post-graduation job market. The average grad will have spent about 24 thousand dollars on tuition by the time they graduate, which for 4 years, I don’t think it is fair to deem this as “not worth it”. In the US at a big ten school where tuition can be upwards of 50 thousand dollars a year, there could be many arguments made. I think studying Marketing Management at the university of Lethbridge is an asset many Canadian employers would find appealing over someone with just a high school graduation; the people skills and active experience possible through a university education is invaluable in the real job market. Info systems will play a huge part in getting a post-graduation job. The world is going virtual, and it is an important asset to be able to hold the analytical skills necessary to interpret and understand info systems. This is a skill many employers will be looking for in new hires, and I think it is an important asset for me to gain post-graduation employment.

  24. Jing Li

    After reading the article, I start thinking about the output of getting the higher level education. Most often, people use their degree or diploma to try to find a decent job. However, sometimes, though people have a high educational back ground, they cannot find a job what they want. As for an international student, I pay way more tuition fee than the local student. Last week I went to bank to pay my tuition for the fall semester. Bank assistant was super shocked after she looked at my total tuition fee only for one semester. She just could not believe that and asked me to make a double check. Why the international students pay that much tuition fee and more come to abroad to continue their study? The oversea experience and advanced educational background make them stand out when they go back to their own country. It is easier for them to find a decent job with a satisfactory salary than the people who do not go aboard.

    People seek for variety of ways to make them skilled because nowadays many companies would like to hire people with related work experience even they do not have a desired degree. So, university student should do something more to make them capable. Like, find major related part time jobs and volunteer for social practice, these are really good ways to improve themselves. Moreover, in some certain fields, for instance, science, engineering and biology, people are required high education.

    In my opinion, university students can find a better job if they pay more attention on society and practice more, not just focus on the theory. Our goal is to make our output equal to the input.

  25. Ryan Gladun

    It is my belief that my field of study will be very competitive when entering the job market. Due to the fact of thousands of students graduating each year in Canada alone, it will be difficult to distinct myself from the many other students. For this reason, I plan on pursuing more schooling after my undergrads.
    Although the article makes many valid points, I believe that even though the graduates starting salary may be on par, or in some cases lower than a high school graduate, the student who chose post-secondary would climb up the company ladder or have larger bumps in salary.
    Having training in information systems would definitely increase your chances in differentiating yourself in the job market. Due to the fact that the IT industry is booming and technology is growing at an exponential rate, employers would rather hire someone who has had the training already than hire someone and waste money training them.

  26. Sandro Moser

    I feel as if more people are starting to realize the exact point this article is trying to make. I saw an article on The Wall Street Journal that there was a 12% enrolment increase nation wide in MBA programs, and Engineering programs because of job security these degrees offer. I feel that when students come out of school with just a degree in fine arts its very rare to lock down a nice secure paying job. I first wanted to get a degree in something with music but my parents said “are you crazy? you can pay for it yourself then.” So I decided against that and get a degree I can actually use after 4 years/

  27. Priya Boyal

    When choosing what I was going to continue to study after high school, my main focus was to find a designation that for me was obtainable as well as one that would grant me a reliable career. I believe there is a threshold between pursing an education in a field that makes me happy and one that will make me successful. Relative to the article, there are certain studies that deem comparatively low salaries especially when associating it to the expenses incurred in receiving the education in the first place. These are fields of studies that I myself would never follow.

    I am currently an accounting major and supply chain minor in my third year and of course my main concern is if I will able to obtain my prospective career and salary. As an accounting major, I feel that my education will be necessary and fully beneficial to me when I enter the job market. There will always be constant competition with other qualified graduates when entering the job market, even with a degree; but without the education I am receiving right now, I wouldn’t have any prospects of receiving the job I plan to. I believe my particular field of study will be significantly valuable to me in the future as well as my minor will help me stand out amongst others. Also, I believe an important component when entering the job market is not always what you know but who you know. The connections and references built prior to my graduation will be my first ‘go to,’ to help me mold my future. I believe when properly motivated anyone can obtain a degree but it is the relationships built and experience gained on the way that will really help me stand out from other graduates in the same discipline.

  28. Katie

    Coming out of High School I was not sure what exactly I was getting into by going to university. I figured it was the route to go, have a degree and get a better paying job. Hearing other students and professors talking about how it is not just the degree that companies are looking for made me realize that I had to do more to stand out. Adding a Social responsibility minor to my degree has already helped my during jobs that I take on over the years. Companies have been interested to know what kinds of things they can participate in or how they can give back in order to be more desirable to customers. I began to realize that my major was not limiting me to a specific path. I have the chance to go different routes with my career because I have the knowledge from the other courses that I have taken. Opening the doors was not something I imagined my degree to do for other job opportunities. I expected to go directly into my field that that would be it for the job hunt, not telling my employers that I do have skills for other tasks and taking those on. After my third year I started to realize that for me, coming to university has been more than just the goal of getting a degree. There have been so many other opportunities given to me such as participating on varsity athletic teams. Sure you can start working right out of school but you would miss out on the experience that comes along with the university life.

  29. Ellen Sparling

    I found this article made a lot of sense- and there is a strong correlation between what you study and what you make. Considering that I entered post-secondary unsure of what I wanted to do, I applied into Kinesiology. After taking Kinesiology for a year, I discovered that I would need to continue on with school after my undergrad, or look at other options if I wanted to get a career that pays a higher income. Fortunately, Uleth offers combined degrees- and I knew that taking a management degree would open a lot more doors. For myself, I feel that having a business degree will definitely be an advantage. There are many routes that can be taken with this degree- whether it be opening your own business- or working in the oil and gas industry. That being said, having both degrees keeps my options open and could lead to many possibilities when it comes to entering the job market.

  30. Braden Hill

    After graduating from Sait with my marketing diploma i was told by many that jobs would arise from getting a post-secondary education. Some of my fellow friends/classmates that i graduated with found it hard to find jobs that were related to marketing. I think that getting my management degree would increase the chances of getting a job in the workplace. This being because world revolves around business so i believe management jobs will almost always be available. I believe having some training in information systems can help you with a job search but at the same time i believe that it can make it just difficult to find one. This being because more and more people are using technology and info systems with everyday life that its getting hard to differentiate one person from another in the workplace. I do believe that having the knowledge of information is a benefit but with technology the way it is today it doesn’t help differentiate you from the rest of the people with the same knowledge

  31. Kris Moore

    As a Marketing major enrolled in the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge, I can say that I will be among the masses of marketing grads when I finish my degree at this university. We will all be entering the job market at the same time, and I will be searching for the same job as the person sitting next to me in the library as I write this. Post-secondary education has changed from a formidable way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack, to an institutionalized formality that is almost necessary in today’s job market. However, it is not the degree you get, or the letters beside your name that will differentiate yourself from the rest of university grads while entering the competitive job market of the 21st century. It is way in which you use the mass amount of information you have taken in for the past four years of your life, the relationships and networks you create while attending post-secondary that will increase your chances for success. There are many ways to allow your resume to stand out while an intern shuffles through thousands of BMgt U of L graduates, searching for the perfect candidate for the available job. Students who create long lasting, professional relationships with individuals involved in the business community, students who work and study internationally, students who take the time to take advantage of the Co-Op opportunities the University has to offer will stand out from the crowd. It is these opportunities that a post-secondary institute can introduce to you that is the reason that post-secondary education is still well sought after regardless of the increasing tuition prices.

  32. stephenross1

    I knew going into my field of study that I would have a hard time finding a job afterwards – I am currently in my fourth year of a BA in History. The reality is that I didn’t go into History to find myself a job, I am studying history because I find it interesting and rewarding knowledge. Had I wanted to do post secondary for a job I probably would have gone to a college like SAIT. A comment in the article actually singled out the BA in History as a job that could potentially make less than a high school graduate.

    My BA in History also allows me to further my education and look into a masters program. I am not particularly concerned about not finding a job, its not as if going to university can actually reduce your chance of finding a job. If a high school graduate is able to find work for a certain pay grade – i will also be able to find a job of the same scale – it just might not be related to History.

    There is a reason why I have chosen to take several management courses throughout my History degree though; I want to be able to gather real-world practical knowledge for the job market. History can teach me some valuable lessons and teach me to write, but I know an employer would like to see Information systems on my transcript, along with management law and organizational behaviour. These courses will allow me to distinguish myself from the average High school graduate.

  33. Tina Brown

    This article brings to mind a poster I saw at the University of Lethbridge which stated “we shouldn’t turn higher education into job training”, this statement has stuck with me as a mature student who is working full time and pursuing part time studies, I personally find this to be a very outdated and harmful attitude. The cost in both money and time to attend post secondary education is huge and I think it is important to evaluate if there is a good return on investment. This is not to say that I would love learning for learnings sake but how many students can truly afford to do that?

    I believe that a degree in management will give me credibility in an industry (healthcare) that is very education and competency focused. Likewise, by also working I am building seniority, working with many influential leaders and gaining many ‘hands on’ skills in addition to my studies.

    Having a strong Information Technology and Information Systems background is important, but in my experience employers are also looking for tangible skills. Can you identify and fix an issue with a formula in MS Excel? Can you type and format a sensitive memo? Can you teach an older co-worker a new system or program without getting short tempered and understand that you each have different strengths?

    It is important to look at building skills that are transferable and applicable in today’s workplace, regardless of your chosen field of study.

  34. Karly Froehlick

    Similar to many other students, in my last few years of high school, I began looking at what my options were after high school. I did a lot of research looking at both post-secondary institutions and career opportunities. After much thought, I decided to attend the Business Administration program at the Lethbridge College. During my first year I became very interested in accounting. I got my diploma from the college and decided if I were to attend the University of Lethbridge Post-Diploma program my job opportunities would be much greater. There would be much more options of career choices and a chance to make a much higher income. The downside to continuing my education is the huge amount of debt I have incurred. Most of my friends took the other option after high school of getting a full time job with no post-secondary education required. They are all making money and spending like crazy. When I compare my friends to myself I do not think I have made the wrong choice because accounting is a career that will always be in demand with many booming industries. I feel that once I find a job after I graduate I will be able to pay off my debt quickly and begin spending my earnings on all the things my friends are buying now and more. I feel the field of study I have chosen with always be reliable with many different options of career opportunities. The only roadblock to finding a career after graduation is the large amount of competition out there. There will be many individuals out there that are looking for the same position within an accounting firm as me. The best thing I can do to prepare myself to build my resume to be distinct from my fellow graduates.

  35. Nicole Toth

    Growing up, I was told that I would be going to university because my parents believed that getting a degree was the key to getting a high paying job. After going to the UofL for a few years I have come to regret my decision in not taking a look at some other alternatives. So many of my old classmates/friends have finished college, have stable jobs and are making reasonable salaries. I believe that having a degree is now the standard and it doesn’t put you above anyone else. My sister went to university for 4 years, it took her a year to find a job afterwards, she isn’t working in her chosen field, and is making a standard salary. Today I really do questions whether going to university is worth the expense and the time. If I could go back I would have gone to college first, a cheaper/shorter alternative, and then upgraded to university if I thought necessary. I do believe that having a good education is a very important asset in life. However, the real world is nothing like it is in a classroom and we will have to learn so much more once we enter the workplace. No matter where we end up working we will have to learn the same things as a person hired without a degree would. I believe that being a well rounded character and having a great personality are almost more important than having a great education because organizations can teach you to do anything but they can’t change who you are as a person. Training in information systems is not only helpful in finding a job but also just functioning in today’s society. It seems that everything is done through the Internet and business rely on IT to operate. No matter what job you are able to get after university you will have to use some type of IS. So having a IS class is definitely a good thing to have on your transcript.

  36. Candace Dyck

    Before I transferred to the U of L I took a two-year diploma at SAIT called Administrative Information Management, where I studied subjects related to management information systems. In one of my last classes before I graduated, I remember one specific instructor telling the class that this was not the last stop on our educational path, even though we were graduating and getting ready to look for our first job in the field. The fact was trying to find a job after graduation was extremely difficult. Companies didn’t want to hire you because you didn’t have the experience, and having the experience is what guaranteed a higher wage.

    My situation is definitely different now because I am already working in the field that I am studying for. I am a full time student working a part time job in the field of my choice because I have the experience already from my previous work and educational history. A lot of students do not have this privilege, so it is really hard to fare in the job market after graduation.

    Having any kind of training in info systems will help you in your search for a job because technology is all around us, and its continuing to change everyday. All businesses and organizations use computers and info systems to advance in the marketplace. It will help you with your work performance and productivity no matter what field you choose to be in. It will also aid in decision making and to create top of the line strategies.

  37. Daniel Reina

    The accounting profession will always be needed as long as there are businesses running. I did a bit of research before I entered school but most of it happened while my first semester. I was able to get a feel of the significance of my future profession. A benefit of accounting, is that it feeds off other booming industries. Oil, IT, engineering etc. Another benefit of accounting is that many regulations are enforceable by law, hence people and companies are required to use our services. I don’t see myself lacking work at any time, unless I lack competence or motivation.

    Training in information systems can help someone out in many different industries. In my circumstance, accountants you massive amounts of financial data. These are some of the advantages of knowing how to you information systems: more effectively being able to bring about correct and timely information through Accounting Information Systems, being able to systematize or automate information. For example, in QuickBooks Online, the online software learns how the accountant matches certain transactions with specific accounts. As I input more information in the system, it learns, and then automatically makes the change in future transactions. Although it is my responsibility to check over each transaction and make sure the system worked correctly, it does save me a lot of time and I am then doing more quality control than data entry. Employers and business owners have always looking for ways to better their business; to make their system work smoother. If I am able to introduce a IS that will do just that, they will see value in my services/expertise and I will be able to pull ahead of my competition.

  38. Gernot Ruppert

    I already have a Bachelor degree in Textile Technology and many of my fellow students directly went working after this and it was interesting to see to which company they went to and how much money they got. Some really got a nice job and a high salary, others nearly got nothing from their company and a few didn’t get a job. So I think that everybody has it in his own hands and can try to achieve the most with it. It is not only the degree that is necessary to be interesting for a company. It is more the whole package of degree, grades, experience and personality.

    I’m now doing a master in textile management to have a broader knowledge, a higher degree and that I can also work in a management position. I think my chances are good for the job market because textile is a big part in the economy of Germany and the whole world and there are not many universities that teach textile Technology and Management. I’m also pretty confident of getting enough money because as I already said I can surely have a big influence on it.

    Information Systems can be a help in getting a job because nowadays we are living in a Environment where everywhere we have to deal with Information Systems especially in a job. Therefore it is important to know about them. But I think it also depends on the company. For some it may be important for some not.

    One last point I want to talk about is that in Germany it does not happen often that people with a high School degree get more money than people with a University degree.

    1. Daube Martin

      First of all, I agree with what is said in this article. Indeed, the major that you’re following will play a big role on your life, on the way that you will take. Depending on the prospects that your studies fild open, you will earn more or less money, you will find easier or with more difficulties a job and so on.

      For my part, I’m studying business engineering at the University (HEC-Ulg) in Belgium for three years now. To begin, this major will open my lots of doors, because the field of application is really broad ! Each company needs people with management skills, so I could maybe find a job easily in a living company, or may run my own company. I will have the skills to enable that !

      The fact to study business engineering and not only management sciences give me also some opportunities to work in a more technical company. Indeed, I have some Physic, Chemistry and advanced maths classes.
      I’m actually in my last year of Bachelor, so I will have to choose between the different master programs such as Supply chain, finances… I have different options to choose what I like and what will ensure me to have a comfortable life, at the level of the money.

      But I think, like Gernot, that it’s not only for your study that a employer will hire you. He will look for an applicant who have different experiences on his CV. I’m actually a scout leader for 3 years, in a student association and I think that this kind of experience bring me some skills that you can’t acquire only by following your class. I’m actually in an exchange student here, in Lethbridge, and I think that this experience will also open more doors.

      In conclusion, It’s true that the major you’re following will play an important role for your future income and so on, but you’ve still some things in your hands to go out from the regular people and to distinguish yourself.

  39. Cole Hofman

    Business students may look at this article and laugh at all the Psychology, Humanities, etc. who are by and large earning less than the median income for Canadians, but you still need to be careful yourself. We are seeing increasingly more people getting post secondary education, to remain competitive students need to differentiate themselves by getting something “extra”. I am an Economics major (yes that is a management major) and feel that alone may set myself apart from the hordes of accounting and finance majors, but I still feel I need to get these extras. A minor with your degree may help in the job hunt, there is a Information Systems minor that can set yourself apart from the competition. A student with training in information systems is beneficial to any business and recruiters definitely look for this. There are other useful minors such as supply chain management that are also prized. Education certainly isn’t the only thing you should be doing to differentiate yourself. Internships, international exchanges, clubs, the list goes on. In conclusion yes I do feel my major will fare well in the job market, but I need to get these extras and training in information systems is definitely apart of that.

    1. Cole Hofman

      However since Introduction to information systems is a requirement for all students pursuing a bachelors of management at the university of lethbridge, and similar classes are likely also a requirement at other post secondary institutions across the country just taking one course in information systems may not differentiate yourself enough as to avoid falling into the category of students earning less than the median income for Canadians.

  40. Tarek Saleh

    Nowadays I believe high school students are only really going into a certain fields on studies based on that fields “reputation.” As mentioned in the article it is crucial for students to be provided with classes that intrigue them further in high-school therefore perhaps paving a more suited path for them when achieving a post-secondary degree. My field of study is Finance, and at first I was so lost to what I wanted to study that I was almost pressured into the field I originally went into, which was arts. After years of researching on my own, and talking to A LOT of people, I came to the conclusion that finance best fits my personality and when I enter the job market that companies are always looking for people in this field. I strongly believe students go into humanities or art, and etc are more so not sure what they want to do, so therefore they stay on that path hoping to get a wider perspective of what interests them. While many students I believe do not manage to do so by the time there degree is over therefore leaving them jobless and with a degree that perhaps has nothing to do with what they actually are meant to do. I say this because, I know so many adults who are working that say that what they are doing currently has nothing to do with what the degree they got in University, and when I hear that it slightly frightens me because I do not believe students are getting the proper exposure to what actually is out there. Students need better exposure to real life jobs in high-school in order for them to get a head start when its time to chose a field in University. I feel my field will fare well when I enter the job market because I know this field is a field that is attractive to employers, but my only hope is that it ends up being what I actually enjoy more then the idea of just having a job and getting paid well.

  41. Taylor Galipeau

    I started off my University career as a Social Studies pre-Ed student. I almost immediately changed my mind once I realized how many different degrees were actually out there. Future job opportunities and salaries definitely played a part in my decision to switch to a BMgt in Finance. I know this is an in demand field of study and will continue to be relevant over time. I have also noticed in my work experience during the summers that majors are not necessarily important when it comes to your job position in the future. With a BMgt there are a number of doors that are opened, including the possibility of continuing with school to get an MBA or getting a CFA designation. So while I feel it is important to earn a degree in something you are passionate about, being able to get a job after you finish that degree is just as important. I am so happy with my decision to change degrees both because I love what I am doing now and I have a very promising future to look forward to. As for information technology… It can only improve your chances of succeeding in the business world. Business is ever changing and an ability to adapt to the changes (such as technological ones) will only increase your marketability in the job hunt. I have experienced working in the offices of oil and gas companies for the past three summers. Every summer I have had to learn new software and data programs. Growing up surrounded by technology and the courses I have taken both with the company and at the University helped me to pick up the programs and software quickly. I even helped some of the older employees understand it better. So clearly training and exposure to different technologies is an asset to any organization.

  42. Justin Quintin

    We are living in an age of information. That information is useless without a systematic way to make sense of it. Turning information into knowledge is the key. a sound understanding of information systems allows people to start to turn that information into knowledge. I have used information systems in virtually every job i have ever had. That tool of being able to sift, manage, and make sense of information is a huge asset to almost anyone. The better you are at it (in my opinion) the more marketable you are, and the more valuable you are (or will be) as an employee .

  43. Justin Quintin

    As a 6th year student working on a bachelor of Management degree, I can see that my degree is in-line, and perhaps slightly above what I had anticipated in terms of salary, fresh from university. I am in my last semester, and have been on hunting job prospects for about 3 months now. Many companies and government departments are looking for precisely my skill set at an entry level position.

    That being said, I have put a lot more effort into my degree, because, as the article alludes to, degrees are a dime a dozen these days. I have done 4 coop work terms, a semester abroad, volunteer work, as well as club and event organizing. a degree in this day and age basically states that you can start a project and follow it to completion. Its the extra things that set you apart from the other people waiting in line for an interview. Management is specific enough, and yet broad enough to have a wide range of applications, but can also be honed in to be more specific if need be. This is why I think attaining a management degree is a solid foundation to start a career.

    It is not uncommon- especially in a province like Alberta- to see high-school grads making as much, if not more than arts/ humanities bachelor degree holders.

    One last point- if there is one thing I learned in my finance courses, it is the importance of saving while young. A hidden cost (now more than ever) of higher education is the prolonging of a constant income. If high school grads can be diligent is saving- they can have (in my case) up to six years’ wages saved on me- and I’m 40K in the hole. I think the ever-dwindling gap between years of education = pay scale increase will have larger repercussions for future generations.

    1. jiabei.chen

      We live in a huge of information society, for international students in the developing countries who study in developed countries, the cost of the school is not one or two times higher than in their own country. However, most people want to go abroad to study. They want to learn the different culture, teaching skills, market skills, and so on. In Canada, there have the data to show that the high school student cannot make more money than the people who get the bachelor degree. This is happened in every country. People who have the high degree may get the good pay. I was study Management which can help me to manager a company or factory. The knowledge that i got from university is really help me to enter the job market because the company will know i have the ability to hold the case or the team.


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