OUSA Releases Report on Student Employment in Ontario

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to announce the release of We Work Hard for Our Money: Student Employment and the University Experience in Ontario, the third report of the 2014 What Students Want Report Series. In November 2013, OUSA launched its biennial Ontario Post-Secondary Student Survey and received approximately 9,000 responses to a series of 140 post-secondary related questions. Today’s report launch examines the experiences undergraduate students have had with summer employment and work undertaken during the academic term.

“Thus far, Ontario’s provincial election has been largely defined by discussions surrounding long-term employment and job creation,” said Jen Carter, OUSA President and Vice-President External of the University Students’ Council (USC) at Western University. “Students recognize that short-term employment over the course of a university education is a necessary reality for many undergraduates and receives comparatively less attention from our political leaders.”

Student responses to OUSA’s survey indicate that approximately 37 per cent of students worked during the school year to pay for their education in 2013, with 59 per cent of these students citing their finances as the primary motivator for undertaking work. However, almost 60 per cent of students working in-study are concerned that job commitments are negatively affecting their academics.

We Work Hard for Our Money: Student Employment and the University Experience in Ontario also examines trends in summer employment for university undergrads. Although 74 per cent of university students were employed in 1 or more summer jobs in 2013, low-income students and students with dependents saw varying summer employment rates of 91 per cent and 63 per cent respectively.

“With undergraduate tuition alone approaching $7,000 a year and continuing to rise, successfully finding summer and in-study employment may mean the difference between whether or not a student is able to pursue a degree,” continued Carter. “As a university education becomes less and less affordable, students will be looking to government to find ways to connect student workers with meaningful employment opportunities that compliment their studies and leave them with valuable skills that will facilitate an easy transition into the labour market post-graduation.”

To read We Work Hard for Our Money: Student Employment and the University Experience in Ontario, click here.