National Graduates Survey (NGS)

Detailed information for 1997 (class of 1995)





Record number:


The National Graduate Survey (NGS) is designed to measure the short to medium-term labour market outcomes of graduates from Canadian public university, community college and trade-vocational programs.

Data release - March 13, 1998


This survey was designed to determine such factors as: the extent to which graduates of postsecondary programs had been successful in obtaining employment since graduation; the relationship between the graduates' programs of study and the employment subsequently obtained; the graduates' job and career satisfaction; the rates of under-employment and unemployment; the type of employment obtained related to career expectations and qualification requirements; and the influence of postsecondary education on occupational achievement. The information is directed towards policy makers, researchers, educators, employers and young adults-interested in postsecondary education and the transition from school to work of trade/vocational, college and university graduates.

This survey has been conducted periodically upon a graduating class from a specific calendar year. Each graduating class is interviewed twice: two years after graduation (National Graduates Survey) and five years after graduation (Follow-up Survey of Graduates).


  • Education, training and learning
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Fields of study
  • Labour
  • Outcomes of education

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Graduates from Canadian public postsecondary education institutions (universities, colleges, trade schools) who graduated or completed the requirements for degrees, diplomas or certificates during the reference calendar year. Excluded are: graduates from private postsecondary education institutions; completers of continuing-education programs (unless these led to a degree, diploma or certificate); part-time trade course completers; persons who completed vocational programs lasting less than three months; persons who completed vocational programs other than in the skilled trades (e.g. basic training and skill development); completers of provincial apprenticeship programs and those living outside of Canada at the time of the survey.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

The sample design included a core sample and a buy-in sample. The sampling unit was individuals who had completed a certificate, diploma or degree from a post-secondary institution in 1995. The core sample was drawn from a stratified systematic random sample plan, with the stratification based on the province of the institution, the certification level and the field of study. The buy-in sample was added to allow better precision of estimates in specific institutions.

United States residents were not included. Instead, a separate Survey of graduates who moved to the United States (Survey #4436) was carried out in 1999.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 1997-05-01 to 1997-07-25

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted with respondents living in Canada.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .


Imputation was not appropriate for most items and thus 'not stated' codes were usually assigned for missing data. Records which were judged to have insufficient or irreconcilable data were removed from the file.

However, it was determined that there were 1,368 records with missing ages of graduates (GRADAGE), due to missing date of birth information from the institution files for these records. While the number of records affected was relatively small, nevertheless it was felt that, since 'age' was a major classification variable, imputation of the missing data was worthwhile.

The imputation strategy adopted to provide the 1,368 records with the missing age data was to use a similar record substitution approach. Basically, this technique allowed for a search of edited survey records in order to select a donor record age to impute to a missing age record. The following search criteria were used to determine the potential donor records according to the basic sample design and data requirements for the survey:

- Province of institution (PRIN) was used for the respondents' geographical / institutional characteristics;
- Degree / Certificate level (CERSTRAT) and Field of Study strata (FOSSTRAT) to insure similar educational backgrounds; and
- Gender (GNDN) for the sex of the recipients and donors.

For each imputed record, an imputation flag (FAGE) was set to indicate that the derived variables GRADAGE (age at graduation) and AGE9706 (age at the time of interview) were imputed.


Total non-response was handled by adjusting the weight of households who responded to the survey to compensate for those who did not respond.

The basis for measuring the potential size of sampling errors is the standard error of the estimates derived from survey results.

However, because of the large variety of estimates that can be produced from a survey, the standard error of an estimate is usually expressed relative to the estimate to which it pertains. This resulting measure, known as the coefficient of variation (C.V.) of an estimate, is obtained by dividing the standard error of the estimate by the estimate itself and is expressed as a percentage of the estimate.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Data accuracy

The sample allocation to the strata was made to allow analysis at useful levels of detail with acceptable and equal reliability levels for all provinces, levels and groups of fields of study.

An independent systematic random sample of allocated size was selected from each stratum.

Once the 'base sample' of 57,560 graduates had been selected, an additional sample of 4,199 graduates was selected. These additional sample units had been purchased by several institutions and provincial agencies in order to supplement their base sample so that better levels of reliability could be attained for their particular institution or province. The additional sample was allocated in such a manner as to meet the reliability requirements specified by the institution or province.

The response rate was 79.6%.

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