Most Canadians who graduate from university end up with careers unrelated to their degrees, according to a new study from job website Workopolis.

In total, 73 per cent of respondents to an online poll told Workopolis that their current jobs are not connected to their fields of study.

Not all disciplines are equally affected by that mismatch, though.

Graduates of nursing programs came out at the top of the chart, with 97 per cent reporting work in their field.

Ashley Taliana began a job at Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital last year, just three days after graduating from one of those programs.

She says she’s heard of friends in other fields – teaching, for one – having trouble finding the jobs they want, but doesn’t see those barriers in nursing.

“There’s always somewhere needing a nurse,” she says.

Taliana chalks the demand for nurses up to Canada’s aging population, both in terms of nurses approaching retirement and in terms of an increase in the number of seniors prompting an increase in the demand for medical services.

Justine Flanagan-Tordjman hopes the aging population will also help her find a job.

She’s in her last year at the University of Waterloo’s school of pharmacy.

Pharmacy schools come in second on the Workopolis list, with 94 per cent of grads finding jobs.

Since pharmacists are now able to offer things like smoking cessation prescriptions and flu shots, Flanagan-Tordjman says, the aging population has an effect on her field as well.

“Because doctors are so overloaded … we’re actually starting to shift some of that expanded scope into our field,” she says.

Workopolis human resources vice-president Tara Talbot blames the high number of Canadians ending up with degrees unnecessary for their jobs on the fast-changing business world, which she says educational institutions aren’t keeping up with.

As a result, she says, many are left to rely on “soft” skills like communication, problem solving and teamwork to gain an edge over others applying for the same jobs.

“Employers are really looking for holistic employees who can jump in the deep end, be productive and perform right away,” Talbot said.

The survey found that 16 per cent more job-seekers list a bachelor’s degree on their resume than did in 2000, while 43 per cent more list master’s degrees.

More than 3,600 people participated in the survey.

With files from