Selected Issues of Higher Education in Canada

Political views
A 2011 study found that Canadian university professors were left leaning but were not "hugely different in this respect from the Canadian university-educated population." There were considerable variation in political views which suggests "that contemporary characterizations of the North American professoriate as left- or right-leaning tend to be overdrawn". Disadvantaged status and socialization in the field were important in forming these views but self-selection effects were not excluded.

Value of higher education
In 2015, Statistics Canada reported that almost one-quarter of university graduates went back to school and completed another certificate, diploma or degree of equal or lesser value to their first degree. People with a degree in the humanities or in physical and life sciences and technologies were the most likely to complete another post-secondary program of an equal or lesser level, while those with degrees in mathematics, information science, computer science, personal services, protective services or transportation services were the least likely. Most of the secondary programs were in business, management, public administration, education, or health care.

A 2016 study from Statistics Canada found that the highest-paying bachelor's degrees for both men and women in 2010 were management science and quantitative analyst, followed by chemical engineering. The highest-paying master's degree was financial management & financial services.

Canada ranks first among OECD nations in the number of college and university graduates. In 2016, Statistics Canada found that 54.0% of Canadians (aged 25 - 64) were college or university graduates. However, a 2017 study showed that, for both men and women, more than 24% of undergraduates in the arts, the humanities, the social sciences and the behavioral sciences are underemployed. In nursing, engineering, education and training, and computer and information science, the underemployment rate is less than 8%. Also, a 2016 labour market assessment by the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that the underemployment rate for university undergraduates under the age of 35 increased from 32% in 1991 to 39% in 2015. The equivalent rate for college graduates was similar until 2006. Since then it has fallen to 33%.

A 2017 study from Statistics Canada showed that, for women under the age of 35, the median annual pay of undergraduates ranged from $41,238 in the arts to $75,027 in nursing. For men, the figures ranged from $44,327 in the arts to $78,054 in engineering.

A 2017 study from Statistics Canada showed that, among men over the age of 24, the median annual pay of apprenticeship holders is $72,955 per year, which is 7% more than they would have received with a typical college diploma. Among women, the figure is $38,230, which is actually 12% less than if they had started work straight out of high school. This discrepancy is explained by the tendency for men to seek training in engineering-related trades, while women often seek training in service trades such as hairdressing. Four years after certification, median employment incomes for individual trades range from $21,000 for hairdressers to $107,220 for heavy-duty equipment technicians.

A 2018 study from Statistics Canada found that fully one-quarter of all master's degrees are in business subjects, where they typically result in a 27% pay increase compared to bachelor's degrees. In health, education, the arts and the social sciences, the median increase is in the 14% to 17% range. In the STEM subjects, the increase is less than 10%. Finally, three out of five doctoral degrees are awarded in the STEM subjects.