The Best University Degrees to Have

I have heard rumors and read some articles about how having a university degree these days does not guarantee reliable or high-paying employment.  Statistics show that, even though more Canadians are better-educated, there is lack of employment for people with degrees, “despite the evident successes in educating more Canadians, recent data indicates that increasingly worrisome employment opportunities for our youth are a growing concern in our country”(Filon, online).  However, data on the same article does show employees aged 25-54, with a university degree, fare much better with their income than those without a degree.

I think the biggest problem is experience.  Employers look for it, and new graduates are lacking it.  Perhaps volunteering in the same area as where you’d would like to work would help a little.  Also, choosing a job that you love doing, but also is in demand.

I don’t believe that university or college degrees are becoming less in-demand, but rather they are faring well alongside of jobs that do not require degrees. The main difference is not the need for these jobs in my opinion, but the pay.

However, Mark Swartz, a writer for the job site Monster, says, “There’s a mismatch between what students are studying, and what companies are willing to pay more for” (Swartz, online).   This could be due to too many students taking the wrong courses, however it is more likely that they are not utilizing or showcasing their skills and attributes, at least, according to a Universities UK study (Steed, online). It seems that students need help from schools to define their skills and line them up with what the prospective employer is looking for. According to Monster, getting a bachelor’s degree gains you a premium of about 30% more earnings than those without degrees.  There is some evidence out there to back that, such as Nonetheless, it is helpful to know which jobs get higher premiums. If you’re looking at graduate programs, the top seven earning fields of study are:

  1. Medicine/Physician
  2. Dentistry
  3. Accounting
  4. Law
  5. MBA
  6. Public admin
  7. Education

Next is the top eight earning undergraduate programs:

  1. Engineering
  2. Computer sciences
  3. Commerce
  4. Nursing
  5. Architecture
  6. Occupational/ Physical Therapist
  7. Pharmacist
  8. Education

Are these jobs in high demand though? We can compare those top earning degrees with these that are highest in demand in Canada according to Monster which separates jobs by provinces, but on average in Ontario, BC, Quebec, they are:

  1. Finance and accounting jobs
  2. Human resources
  3. Sales
  4. Marketing

For all of Canada, Canadian Business author (Brownell, online) shares their top 10:

  1. Construction Manager (degree)
  2. Public Administration Director (bachelor’s degree)
  3. Scientific Research Manager (master’s or doctoral)
  4. Engineering Manager (bachelor’s degree)
  5. Pipefitting Supervisor (apprentice/certification)
  6. Mining & Quarrying Supervisor (advanced positions require degrees)
  7. Power Systems Electrician (apprentice)
  8. Utilities Manager (bachelor’s degree)
  9. Dentist (degree)
  10. Nurse Practitioner (master’s degree)

Seven out of ten of the most in demand jobs predicted by Canadian Business, require a university degree. This tells me that degrees are still in high demand, if anything more than before. While some jobs may get taken over by robots, we need to ensure that we can still find a job when we are done school.

It seems also, that there are areas that would increase your earnings, but then again, you should be at least interested in that sector and love what you do, otherwise it may not be worth it.

For those jobs that do not require a degree but rather certifications, training programs, and licences, some of the highest paid in Canada include land surveyors, air traffic controllers, and firefighters.  These jobs can also be high paying and fulfilling, so make sure you decide what is right for you.

Brownell, Claire. “Canada’s Best Jobs 2019: The Top 25 Jobs in Canada”. Candian Business Retrieved from:
Filon, Francine.  2014.  Youth Unemployment and Underemployment in Canada.  Retrieved from:
Monster. Canada’s Most in Demand Positions. Retrieved from:
Steed, Sarah. “Too Many Graduates are Mismatched to their Jobs. What’s Going Wrong?”., The Guardian. Retrieved from:
Swartz, Mark.  Highest Paying University Degrees in Canada