Career specific degrees 'more valuable' in Canada
Does paying for a degree pay off? That's the question facing Canadian graduates at the moment, with the chances of getting a job related to their degrees a cause for concern.
Canada's overall unemployment rate stated static at 6.9 percent during October, while the unemployment rate in the neighboring United States fell. It's no wonder Canada's graduates and those working towards their degrees are wondering if it's worth the money they'll invest and the student loans they'll have to pay back.
So just how is the job market looking for Canadian students? And are there any particular fields that are more likely to lead to a job?
Youth unemployment grows - but a degree may help
Youth unemployment in Canada is a real concern, with statistics from earlier this year showing 13.6 percent unemployment rate among young people aged 15 - 24.
At a first glance it's easy to see why students feel disheartened by the current job climate; however it's worth noting that unemployment rates for those with post-secondary education are generally lower, indicating that college degrees can boost the chances of getting a job.
It seems that gaining a good education can have a knock on effect on wages too, with degree holders earning anywhere from 30 percent to 45 percent more than their high school graduate counterparts, depending on their degree.
The job market in Canada right now could be better, but it's fair to say that in general those with degrees do better than their counterparts.
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Stiff competition for jobs creates boomerang kids
Unfortunately, due to the conditions in the job market and the difficulty of finding a job in your chosen sector, this still translates to a hard slog when it comes to landing that post-graduate job opportunity.
Employers are seeing increasing competition for jobs, which means graduates are having a tougher time of it when it comes to getting that job. Many students are finding the best option for now is to move back home for a while to focus on finding a good job without the added stress of daily bills.
It's a short-term solution, and of course students are worried about the longer term solution. Some of it is out of their hands and depends on the state of the Canadian economy and job market moving forward.
Current forecasts show a cautious optimism about the Canadian job market going into 2014, with 13 percent of employers expecting to add jobs in the New Year, a 2 percent increase on October's figure of 11 percent. It seems that more jobs may be available as the New Year gets going, but are there particular fields which will help graduates find a job?
Focused fields may provide greater chance of employment
An important aspect of finding the right job after graduation is studying the right degree.
While it's true that any degree shows commitment and the ability to apply critical thinking, solve problems, and learn new things, those soft skills don't always translate directly into employment.
Evidence suggests that more specialized fields such as law and medicine are more likely to yield a job than less focused fields such as the humanities or arts, with a University of Manitoba study showing that engineering, dentistry, medical, finance, law and environmental science fields were those most likely to lead to employment success for graduates.
With job prospects in Canada overall looking set to improve next year, graduates may find life gets a little easier.
However, there's no doubt that competition for jobs will remain stiff, and prospective students would do well to consider fields where graduates are finding more success, rather than less defined fields that aren't leading to specific jobs.
About the author
Tristan Anwyn covers a wide variety of fields, including small business, education, and marketing.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.