LMIC Report: What Wage Information do Students Value?

Through a partnership with Refresh Market Research, the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) conducted a study of first-year postsecondary students to determine what types of wage information they are interested in. They conducted a series of discussions with 35 Canadian students to better understand what information students value most.

The study found that students want highly customizable wage information that is adaptable to their own life circumstances, differentiating things such as hourly and annual rates of pay. They also value the ability to compare wage data by occupation, field of study, and location to help them make more informed decisions about education and potential career paths.

Personal interests are still the main factor for students when choosing a postsecondary program; however, as they begin to consider long-term career goals their focus changes to wage information to ensure they can afford the future lifestyle they desire. Most important to them is wage information by occupation as it is the most specific and easiest to understand, followed by wage information by education/training which helps them determine the amount of education and training required to achieve their desired salary. Students were less interested in wage information by industry in comparison to other classifications, often seeing information about an entire field as too broad.

When asked about additional labour market information outside of wages, students ranked cost of living as the most important. By comparing the cost of living in a location to expected wages they were able to better gauge if their earnings would be enough to provide their desired lifestyle. Benefits were also viewed as very important in helping them compare job offers as well as calculating how much extra they need for insurance and savings.

The report concludes that wage information is very valuable to students when making career-related decisions. Wage information helps validate their career and education choices, and paints a clearer picture of the outcomes they can expect from the paths they choose. Wage information should be customizable to individual needs, relevant to future career aspirations as well as the present, and enhanced with additional information such as cost of living to make career decisions for students as informed as possible.

The full report can be found here.