Education and Training

Educational Attainment

In 2020, 65.2% of adults in Nova Scotia had a postsecondary education as their highest level of education completed, this result is equivalent to the Canadian level, 65.5%.

The percentage of Nova Scotian adults (17.0%) with a bachelor’s degree is lower than the Canadian percentage (20.9%). Unexpectedly, the percentage of the province’s adults with an education above a bachelor's degree fell from 11.1% in 2019 to 10.6% in 2020, after an upward trend for the past four years.  This fall may represent students choosing to delay their graduation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however the national trend does not complement this theory. 

Educational Attainent, 2020, Nova Scotia and Canada, Age 25 and older

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate typically varies across levels of educational completion with lower rates for those with higher levels of education. This trend in unemployment rates by educational completion is seen at both national and provincial levels. 

Typically, the rate of unemployment is more severe for those with lower levels of education. However, in 2020 trends have been thrown off due to the economic conditions in response to COVID-19. In Nova Scotia, those workers with less than a university degree did have higher rates of unemployment, in keeping with the national statistics and recent trends, but the rate of unemployment did not coincide with educational completion for workers with education below the university level.

Workers with less than a high school education and workers with a high school education had a slightly lower unemployment rates (9.6% and 9.5%, respectively) than workers with some postsecondary (10.3%) and workers with a postsecondary certificate or diploma (9.8%).

Generally, unemployment rates are lower at the national level, however, in 2020 Nova Scotia’s unemployment rates were lower for workers with a less than high school, high school graduates and for those with a degree(s). Workers with some post secondary or a postsecondary certificate or diploma suffered higher unemployment rates in Nova Scotia relative to the national levels.

Unemployment Rate by Educational Attainment, 2020, Nova Scotia and Canada, Age 25 and over

Income

Nova Scotia’s employment income data shows that, on average, individuals with higher levels of education have higher annual employment incomes. The median income for those with a postsecondary educational below bachelor level was $9,390 higher than those with a high school graduation and $14,155 higher than those with less than high school.

The differences were even greater when compared to those with a university bachelor’s degree and above.  The median income for those with a university bachelor’s degree and above was $29,538 higher than those with a high school graduation and $34,303 higher than those with less than a high school education.

Median Employment Income by Educational Attainment, Nova Scotia, 2016

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