Where do the grads go? In recent years Hamilton has seen a rise in jobs, but McMaster undergrads are still choosing to leave the city

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By: Donna Nadeem

Despite McMaster’s large undergraduate population, many students do not seem to want to stick around in Hamilton despite the growing number of jobs in the city.

The city of Hamilton has seen a drop in the unemployment rate as of May 2017 of 6.3 per cent to 5.2 per cent, which is the lowest rate the city has seen since Sept. 2015.       

Yet students have typically been less likely to stay in Hamilton because they cannot find jobs that relate to either their education or interests. A “Your City Survey” was done in 2011 and then updated in 2016 that showed that McMaster was doing a better job of advertising job opportunities and that they have made significantly more efforts than the city of Hamilton.

In 2011, when the first survey was done, around 55 per cent of individuals surveyed that they would consider living in Hamilton after graduation. In 2016, a newer iteration of the survey showed a 20 per cent increase which now meant that 75 per cent of individuals would consider living in Hamilton after graduation.

Initiatives like Hack the City, a project created in 2016 by the current McMaster Students Union vice president (Finance), Daniel “Tuba” D’Souza, has given students the opportunity to learn more about employment opportunities in the city.

“I think Hack the City provided a valuable opportunity for students to learn more about projects occurring within the city of Hamilton in the healthcare, infrastructure and energy sectors,” said D’Souza.

A recent 2017 BMO Regional Market report done showed that the employment rate in Hamilton is up 12.5 per cent and that the unemployment rate is 4.2 per cent, the lowest in Canada outside of Quebec City and putting Hamilton in the top 10 for city labour market performance ranking in Canada.

Other initiatives like Hamilton Employment Crawl have been designed to educate third and fourth-year students on employment opportunities in Hamilton post-grad. Hamilton Employment Crawl was a partnership between McMaster, Mohawk College, Redeemer University College and Hamilton Economic Development.

This event helps educate students on the career opportunities that existed post-grad in the city of Hamilton through a series of industry tours. One of the tours is a Small Business Enterprise Centre at City Hall where students learn how have their own start-up business in Hamilton.

“As both employment opportunities in the city and awareness of these opportunities from students through programs like the Hamilton Employment Crawl and the Career Fair, both hosted by the [Student Success Centre], continue to rise, I believe that students will have more of a reason to live and work in Hamilton after graduation,” said D’Souza.

A recent 2017 BMO Regional Market report done showed that the employment rate in Hamilton is up 12.5 per cent and that the unemployment rate is 4.2 per cent, the lowest in Canada outside of Quebec City and putting Hamilton in the top 10 for city labour market performance ranking in Canada.

The job growth in Hamilton has increased astoundingly and that has definitely helped with the grad retention problem that Hamilton faced. Now that there are more employment op-portunities, students have a higher chance of finding jobs that are affiliated with their desired profession therefore making it more intriguing for them to want to stay in Hamilton.

“Hamilton is a fantastic city with an incredibly supportive community and a strong young professional network. I would love to stay in Hamilton if I can find an opportunity that will both challenge me and provide the opportunity for me to grow after I complete my term in April,” said D’Souza.

 

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