Campus hire salary survey benchmarks graduate recruitment in Canada

October 2008 – The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) has released the first national salary survey specifically designed to support corporate campus recruitment efforts. The CACEE Campus Hire Salary Survey 2008, conducted between June and August of 2008 with input from over 200 corporations across Canada, provides a province by province breakdown of full-time and co-op/internship recruitment levels and average salaries for new graduates.  

“This is the first time that such a comprehensive study of recruitment activities and salary levels has been undertaken in Canada,” says Anne Markey, executive director for CACEE. “CACEE initiated the survey to give businesses a clearer understanding of salary benchmarks and the impact and efficiency of campus recruitment operations. The results show many discrepancies in recruitment practices and their effectiveness, as well as significant opportunities and challenges for specific geographical regions and industry sectors.”

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Alberta and Ontario accounted for nearly 80 per cent of all campus hires.
  • The average starting salary for new hires with an Honours degree was $48,885, ranging from $43,000 (health services) to $60,000 (investment banking).
  • Professional services jobs topped the list of full-time job offers, followed by oil and gas, retail and telecommunications.
  • Nearly 50 per cent of all reported hires this past year were for accounting, followed by engineering.
  • Acceptance rate for jobs offered to new graduates was 82 per cent.
  • Sectors that faced the greatest challenges hiring students were mining (59 per cent acceptance rate), retail (74 per cent), education (75 per cent), non-transportation manufacturing (76 per cent) and healthcare (78 per cent).
  • On average, 97 per cent of new graduate hires remained with the initial firm after one year of employment, although smaller companies have significantly lower retention rates than larger companies.
  • The median cost per hire is $5,150.
  • 2009 recruiting is projected to decline over 2008.
  • The most effective recruiting tools are job postings on websites (75 per cent effective rating), information session (65.2 per cent), and career fairs (61.2 per cent).

The survey also estimates the level of hiring and the anticipated change in starting salary levels for the 2009 recruiting season, as well as estab¬lishes a number of benchmarks for recruiting practices. These practices range from the branding activities on the part of Canadian employers to attract talent, to developing an estimated cost per hire.
Cynthia Bishop, director – student life, career services and alumni at Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto, sees the survey as an instrumental resource in helping academic institutions in their efforts to offer exceptional service to students and corporate partners. “It provides national industry specific salary information to help us better advise our students in salary negotiations; a clear outlook on upcoming trends in on-campus recruitment which enables us to strategically prepare for the year ahead; and a comprehensive listing of what our corporate partners feel are the best branding activities to offer on campus.”

A copy of the full survey results may be ordered online at