National Graduates Survey (NGS)

Detailed information for 1987 (class of 1982: follow-up)





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 - April 1, 1989


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 survey included all those who responded to the National Graduates Survey (Class of 1982) living in Canada at the time of the survey. It is based on a stratified, systematic sample design. The population of graduates was stratified by province, level and field of study. The five levels are:

1) skilled trades,
2) college,
3) undergraduate (degrees, diplomas and certificates),
4) master's (degrees, diplomas and certificates),
5) doctorate.

For university and college graduates there are 9 fields of study, and for trade and vocational program completers, 10.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 1987-03-01 to 1987-03-31

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Telephone interviews were conducted with respondents living in Canada.


Since this survey was based upon a sample of graduates, each responding graduate represents a number of other graduates in the population stratum. The weighting phase is a step which calculates, for each record, what this number is, and places it on the microdata file for each record.

Since this survey is based upon respondents to the National Graduates Survey (Class of 1982), each responding graduate record has a final weight from the NGS, representing a number of other graduates in the population stratum. In the weighting for the Follow-up Survey of Graduates (Class of 1982), the final weight from the NGS was adjusted for non-responses within each stratum for the responding graduates to the follow-up survey.

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 in the National Graduates Survey, 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 89%.

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