National Graduates Survey (NGS)

Detailed information for 1984 (class of 1982)





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 - 1985


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.

Instrument design

Because the data needs for university and college graduates were somewhat different from those of trade/vocational graduates, two separate questionnaires were developed and used in this survey. As questionnaires were developed in the fall of 1983, it became apparent that they were different enough from the 1978 survey questionnaires for pretesting to be desirable. Accordingly, a pre-test of interviewer training documents and the questionnaires was carried out in the Toronto Regional Office in the late fall of 1983.

As a result of the pre-test a number of improvements were made to the interviewer training manuals and the questionnaires.


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

Five levels of certification and the 10 provinces and combined 2 territories represent the 55 target subpopulations of interest for the survey. The five levels of certification are as follows:
1) bachelors or first professional degree, diploma or certificate;
2) master's degree, diploma or certificate;
3) doctoral degree;
4) career/technical diploma or certificate;
5) skilled trade or vocational diploma or certificate.

Each of the subpopulations was stratified into strata based upon the major field of study (as reported by the institution) of the program leading to the graduate's degree, diploma or certificate. A total of 9 field-of-study strata were developed for university and college program graduates based upon the 5-digit University Student Information System (USIS) and corresponding Community College Student Information System (CCSIS) field-of-study schemes developed by Statistics Canada. Ten field-of-study strata were developed for trade/vocational program graduates based also upon the CCSIS coding scheme.

Within each of the above strata in each subpopulation, the list of graduates was ordered by individual institution and a systematic sample of graduates was then selected.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 1984-06-04 to 1984-07-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Telephone interviews were conducted with respondents living in Canada.

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


The weight is the inverse of the sampling fraction, with a correction for non response. For "pre-sampled" institutions the sampling fraction had to be determined from administrative counts. This had to be done in January 1984 so that pre-sampled list could be provided to the institutions concerned in adequate time for them to return the list with addresses and telephone numbers attached. When complete lists of graduates were available in May from those universities that had not supplied individual-graduate data to the USIS file, the totals available by stratum were found in many cases to be different from the expected counts in the administrative data. A second stage of calculation of sampling fractions had to be carried out for the "non-pre-sampled" institutions in a given stratum, so that the desired level of accuracy for the whole stratum could be maintained.

A statistical measure of the sampling error, the standard deviation, can be estimated from the sample data themselves. Using the standard deviation, confidence intervals for estimates (ignoring the effects of non-sampling error) may be obtained under the assumption that the estimates are normally distributed about the true population value.

Because of the large variety of estimates that can be produced from a survey, the standard deviation is usually expressed relative to the estimate to which it pertains. The resulting measure, known as the coefficient of variation of an estimate, is obtained by dividing the standard deviation 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 that 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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Data accuracy

For each subpopulation, it was required that the coefficient of variation not exceed 15% for any estimated proportion of 5% or greater. In addition, there was a requirement that, for the overall population (at the Canada level), the coefficient of variation not exceed 15% for any estimated proportion of 5% or greater relating to individual major fields of study.

The response rate was 77%.

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