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The Council of Ontario Universities has some difficult data for the graduates of universities and their parents. The grads have not fared well at securing employment. Itís a document full of numbers showing the strong link between a university education and a career in your chosen field.

The report is a shocking account of how incomes for graduates have stagnated in recent years. The average annual salaries for grads who have been out of school for two years declined from $49,468 in 2006. to $49,398. in 2011. This drop looks even worse when you consider that inflation averaged 1.8 per cent annually through the same period.

The persistent weakness in the job market suggests that a reversal of the flat income trend for new grads hasnít changed. The average income numbers are much scarier when you compare the field of study. There is a huge gap. Computer science has almost kept up with inflation while Sciences and the Arts /Humanities are down after inflation numbers are factored into the equation.

The tenured university professors, many earning six figure salaries, will tell that: "you do not go to university to get a job, you go to school for an education". The vast majority of non-tenured professors who actually do the vast majority of lecturing while working towards their PhDís earn close to minimum wages do not want to rock the boat of academia. They practice the code of "Donít ask, Donít tell" their students the facts of attaining a degree and job potentials/salaries.

It is a concern of mine that our colleges of education such as Althouse College in London takes some of our talented university grads into the faculty without telling them that there is little of no chance at getting a full time job in teaching in the province. The faculty are mostly retired high school teachers who provide the instructions are receiving their Ontario Teacherís Pensions while double dipping being paid their teacher college salaries by the taxpayers of Ontario.

This year has been a banner year for student enrolment in our universities resulting in bulging mega size classes in large lecture halls. Education has become a big business for our universities with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars mostly funded by we the taxpayers.

Students who make the cut-offs who are admitted spend 3,4. 5 years in their classes. They hope, sometimes in vain, that if they graduate they will find meaningful employment to be able to pay back their Ontario Student Loan payments that begin six months after leaving their schools.

The community colleges/apprenticeship programs are more inclined to help their graduating students find employment relating to their studies withing six months of graduation.

The skilled trades have a shortage of craftspeople who are willing and able to take the place of their people who are retiring. The stats show that some plumbers are earning more then the law school students who often times can not attain articling positions.

We have a problem with our secondary school teachers who have only known the world of academia not being able to advise their students of their options. They practice the old school psychology that: "if you want to be successful then you have to graduate from university". Interesting, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Mike Stronach, Peter Mansbridge and many other talented famous happy people who discovered their own passion found success without having a degree.

Parents and their children are obliged to weigh the benefits and negatives of attending university, college or going directly to work. "Caveat emptor let the buyer beware"should be every parents duty before they sign on the dotted line.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com