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July 2001     Vol. 2, no. 7

Liberal arts degrees and the labour market

Philip Giles and Torben Drewes

  • Wage rates for applied programs graduates were about 6% higher than for humanities and social sciences graduates for both men and women. However, this wage advantage declined with age and actually reversed for those 45 and older.
  • From January 1993 to December 1997, the humanities and social sciences group averaged over one week more of unemployment than the applied programs graduates did. The difference was almost entirely due to higher unemployment among humanities and social sciences men.
  • The average number of job transitions during the five-year period was comparable, with the humanities and social sciences group recording slightly higher overall transition rates for both sexes.


Philip Giles is with the Income Statistics Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-2891 or

Torben Drewes is at Trent University. He can be reached at (705) 748-1011 (ext 1545) or

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