National Graduates Survey (NGS)

Status:
Active
Frequency:
Irregular
Record number:
5012

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.

Detailed information for 2013 (class of 2009/2010)

Data release - March 31, 2014

Description

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.

Subjects

  • 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 school year are the targeted population for this survey. Excluded are: graduates from private postsecondary education institutions; completers of continuing-education programs (unless these led to a degree, diploma or certificate); persons who completed programs lasting less than three months; persons who completed 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 or the United States at the time of the survey.

Instrument design

For the most part, the questionnaire used was the same as for the 2007 National Graduates Survey (Class of 2005).

Sampling

This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The National Graduates Survey uses a stratified simple random sample design. The sample selection of graduates within strata is done without replacement and using a systematic method.

Three variables are used for stratification: geographical location of the institution, level of certification and field of study. There are 13 geographical locations: the 10 provinces and the three northern territories. There are five levels of certification: trade/vocational certificate or diploma Quebec only, college diploma, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctorate. The "trade/vocational" level in Quebec pertains to programs typically offered outside of the postsecondary sector. Finally, there are 12 fields of study: categories 01 to 12 of the primary groupings of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

The combination of these three variables makes for a possibility of 636 strata in total. However, there are not graduates in every possible strata and therefore, the final number of strata created was 434.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2013-04-02 to 2013-09-01

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted with graduates living in Canada or in the United States.

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

Error detection

The first type of error treated was errors in questionnaire flow, where questions which did not apply to the graduate (and should therefore not have been answered) were found to contain answers. In this case an edit eliminated superfluous data by following the flow of the questionnaire implied by answers to previous questions.

The second type of error treated involved a lack of information in questions which should have been answered. For this type of error, a non-response or "not-stated" code was assigned to the item.

For quantitative variables such as financial variables, editing which includes outlier detection was performed. These variables include reported information on earnings, income and student loans. Potential outliers were identified and manual investigations were made on these cases to confirm their outlier status. Outliers were changed to "not stated" or replaced by a more plausible value when a realistic value could be deduced from the other variables.

Imputation

No imputation was done for the 2013 National Graduates Survey - Class of 2009/2010.

Estimation

In order for estimates produced from survey data to be representative of the target population, and not just of the sample itself, users must incorporate the survey weights into their calculations. A survey weight is given to each person included in the final sample, that is, the sample of persons who responded to the survey questions. This weight corresponds to the number of persons represented by the respondent for the target population. If the frame used was perfect (covering exactly the population of interest) and all selected units were traced, contacted and completed the survey, then the design weight assigned to each unit, given by the inverse of the probability of selection of each unit in the sample, would represent accurately and exactly the number of graduates in the target population. In this situation, using this weight would yield unbiased estimates. However, this is not the case when surveys are faced with non-response and imperfect frames. Weight adjustments are traditionally used to compensate for these different issues. Response patterns have to be studied carefully to appropriately adjust for non-response by creating response homogeneous groups (RHG) based on the characteristics of the respondents and the non-respondents.

For weighting purposes, this survey can be seen as a two-phase survey. The first phase corresponds to the selection of the sample and the responding units correspond to the second phase sample. The first phase weight is the inverse of the probability of selection of the graduate. This first phase weight is then multiplied by a second phase adjustment factor. For the purpose of the second phase adjustment, response homogeneous groups (RHG) are created based on the characteristics of the respondents and the non-respondents. The second phase adjustment factor reflects the response rate within these RHGs, as well as other weight adjustments that were performed (for example, post-stratification and weight trimming).

For variance estimation, the two-phase approach of the Generalized Estimation System (GES) was used.

Quality evaluation

Data was confronted with other published sources such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS, record number 3701), the Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS, record number 5017) and previous National Graduates Survey (NGS) releases.

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

While considerable effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of error. These errors can be broken down into two major types: sampling and non-sampling. Frame imperfection and non-response are important sources of non-sampling error.

The sample was designed to yield estimates of a minimal proportion of 5.5% with a maximum coefficient of variation (CV) of 16.17% for any of the NGS2013's marginal. A marginal is defined as i) a given field of study regardless of the province of institution; or ii) a given province of institution regardless of the field of study; and that for each of the five levels of certification. There were two exceptions to this rule: the sample sizes for "Other" fields of study were reduced by two thirds (since they aren't as important from an analytical point of view), and all PhDs were drawn into the sample.

The survey has some under-coverage for graduates of colleges in some provinces. Data required to build the frame could not be obtained from a few institutions and therefore, graduates from those institutions were not included on the frame. Consequently, they could not be selected nor represented in any tabulation. No adjustment was made at the weighting stage to compensate for this under-coverage.

The overall response rate for the NGS2013 is 49.1%.