On January 18, 2018, OSPE was invited to deliver recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for Ontario’s 2018 Budget. This marked OSPE’s third invitation to present before the Standing Committee. This year, OSPE was honoured to present in Kitchener-Waterloo, where engineering innovation is the lifeblood of the region.
The presentation focused on the challenges engineering graduates face in getting their first engineering job. Research indicates that 33% of engineering degree-holders work in jobs that do not require a post-secondary degree.
The underemployment of engineering graduates undermines the return on public and individual investments in post-secondary education. When these individuals are unemployed, or take on positions that do not fully utilize their engineering education, it means a zero or diminished return on public and individual investment for their education. We want these people building, innovating and doing, otherwise, we inevitably limit economic growth across nearly all major sectors of this province. We need to support our best and brightest by aiding their transition into the workforce so that they can create wealth and jobs here in Ontario, not elsewhere.
Engineering grads need someone to invest in them. Someone to give them a shot.
OSPE asked that Ontario’s 2018 Budget expand the Career Ready Fund and the Career Kickstart Strategy, and create targeted funding to support engineering employment. Investments in engineering create direct and indirect jobs, wealth and an impressive culture of entrepreneurship.
During the January 18th presentation, OSPE applauded the government’s vision for excellence in post-secondary education. OSPE’s concern and recommendations are rooted in basic economics – that increasing the supply of engineering graduates without making adequate investments to increase demand has several consequences.
Businesses are seeking job-ready applicants with several years of experience to fill engineering positions. For engineering employers, the time and investment required to train and onboard a new hire is expensive.
The lynchpin is finding a way to reduce employers’ costs and incentivizing industry to take on engineering grads. That’s where the provincial government has a critical role to play – as a connector and facilitator.
By growing and sustaining the Career Ready Fund and Career Kickstart Strategy, with targeted investments to support engineering employment, Ontario will unlock the massive economic potential of communities across Ontario and capitalizing on our greatest resource: our highly-skilled workforce.