Post-secondary students seek job opportunities outside Alberta as graduation season approaches

Leave or stay: Yanjuan Xiong speaks about her career plan from her laboratory at the University of Calgary on Jan. 31. The COVID-19 pandemic adds more competition for the post-secondary graduates in the job market as the unemployment rate in Alberta is currently the second-highest in Canada.







More post-secondary students are seeking job opportunities outside of Alberta amidst the pandemic and the low employment rate in the province.

Alberta currently has the second-highest unemployment rate in Canada at 11.0 per cent this January.

While the public health restrictions are affecting different sectors across the province, the pandemic is crowding more people into the job market, making the competition even more stressful for the post-secondary students who are graduating this spring.

“I just want to be economically independent,” said Yanjuan Xiong, a master’s student in optic engineering at the University of Calgary. “I’m struggling.”

Xiong said she is in need of a better paying job, and she’s struggling to decide what her next steps will be. If she wants to find a job in her field, she’ll probably need to resettle in Eastern Canada.

The engineering positions in Alberta that show up on is only about 20 per cent of what’s available in Ontario.

“I don’t want to be in a situation when my parents need financial support, I cannot provide any help.”

When more people are thinking of going back to school while being temporarily laid off, the post-secondary students who have already spent up to eight years in school wants to cash on what they have invested in education.

“The tuition is not cheap, but what we get out of school is not the same as before,” said Tyler Yuan, a university student who is considering whether or not to postpone her last semester.

“I hope I can graduate as soon as possible,” Yuan said.

“I feel as though I have learned all the skill to kill a dragon, but there is no dragon to be killed.”

As an international student, Yuan is paying about three times more than domestic students.

“The tuition is not cheap, but what we get out of school is not the same as before.” – Tyler Yuan

Yuan said he hopes that he could stay in Canada, but there’s not much he could do as he cannot find a part-time job like before if he doesn’t go back to school.

“If I could get transferred to the University of British Columbia, it might be easier to find a job in Vancouver after I graduate.”