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 2005 (class of 2000: follow-up)

Data release - May 2, 2007

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.

Each graduating class is interviewed twice: two years after graduation (National Graduates Survey) and five years after graduation (Follow-up Survey of Graduates--FOG).

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 calendar 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 vocational 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 National Graduates Survey (Class of 2000) and the previous Follow-up of Graduates Survey (Class of 1995). Where new questions were introduced, they were designed in consultation with questionnaire design specialists.

Sampling

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

The survey involves a longitudinal design with graduates being interviewed at two different times: at two years and five years after graduating from postsecondary institutions in Canada. The sample design has been developed using a "funnel-shaped" approach, where only graduates that respond to the initial interview are traced for the follow-up interview.

There are three variables 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 programs, college programs, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctorate. As for the stratification level for the fields of study, it depends on the levels of certification. There are eight categories of field of study for the trade/vocational level and nine categories each for the college level and the three university level degrees (i.e., bachelor's, master's and doctorate) combined. As with previous iterations of the National Graduates Survey (NGS), the field of study was obtained by grouping the Community College Student Information System (CCSIS) and the University Student Information System (USIS).

The combination of these variables makes for a total of 572 strata.

For FOG, it was determined that due to conceptual and sample requirement issues, it would be beneficial for the aims of the project as a whole to not follow-up with the trade/vocational graduates who responded to the NGS. Moreover, as part of the survey, the respondent was asked to confirm the certification level. Therefore, the FOG2000 sample is comprised of all NGS2000 respondents whose reported variable indicated that they earned either a college diploma or certificate, a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree or a Doctorate in 2000.

The final sample size was 34,304, which represents all of NGS respondents minus Trade/vocational graduates.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2005-04-27 to 2005-07-24

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 and imputation was performed. These variables include reported information on personal income and student loans. Reported values were grouped based on field of study, level of certification and preferred mode of reporting the data (i.e., hourly, daily, weekly, yearly, etc.). Potential outliers were identified and manual investigations were made on these cases to confirm their outlier status. Outliers were coded to "not stated" or replaced by a more plausible value when a realistic value could be deduced from the other variables.

Imputation

Imputation was performed for some quantitative variables such as financial variables. These variables include reported information on personal income and student loans. Reported values were grouped based on field of study, level of certification and preferred mode of reporting the data (i.e., hourly, daily, weekly, yearly, etc.). Outliers were identified and deterministic imputation with a more plausible value was performed when a realistic value could be deduced from the other variables.

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 and in order to facilitate the variance estimation, the FOG2000 can be seen as a three-phase survey. The first phase corresponds to the selection of the NGS2000 sample and the NGS responding units correspond to the second phase sample. The underlying assumption is that the second phase sample is a subsample of the first phase sample. Note that in practice, the second phase is a Bernoulli sample and the second phase sampling probabilities are equal to the observed response probabilities in the RHGs.

Quality evaluation

Data was confronted with other published sources such as Census data, the Labour Force Survey (LFS, record number 3701), the Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS, record number 5017), the Survey of Graduates Who Moved to the United States (SGMUS, record number 4436) 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

The FOG sample is a subsample of the NGS sample, i.e comprised of NGS respondents. Initially, the NGS sample was divided into two components -- the basic sample and the supplementary sample. The core sample was designed to yield estimates of a minimal proportion of 5.5% with a maximum coefficient of variation (CV) of 16.5% for any of the NGS2000's marginal. A marginal was 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. The marginal's CVs were then allocated to each stratum (or cell in a table) to obtain the cells or stratums CV using a raking-ratio algorithm. The last step consisted of converting the CVs into sample sizes.

The supplementary sample targeted specific subpopulations in order to meet the interests of external partners. The provinces of Quebec and Manitoba made such requests for graduates at the bachelor's and master's levels.

Finally, the last step consisted of oversampling to compensate for expected non-response. The determination of the final sample size was based on some hypothesis about attrition rates for the follow-up survey and past NGS response rates.
The overall response rate for the FOG2000 is 68.5%.

Data file