# Some Statistics on Co-op Placements

The other day, I was sitting in the pink lab, when I overheard two students talking. One said that the co-op placement rate for last term (ie. this work term) was only 50%! I felt obliged to interject, since the one student was doing a good job of convincing the other. "That's not true," I told them. "Maybe 50% for Math, or Math CS, ... or Math first year, but certainly not for the whole school," I stuttered. I couldn't remember exactly, but I did remember hearing a lot of students complaining and no one knowing exactly what the real numbers were.

So, I went undercover. Disguised as an Arts student, I penetrated the outer defences of Needles Hall. There, I met with one of the well-reputed employees at Needles Hall, who was eager to share the figures with me. He stressed, however, that these figures change on a daily basis, so they should be considered fact for January 11, 2002, and an approximation for thereafter.

So here they are:

```		     Placed          Number still looking
====================================
Overall UW placement:      89.1%     (487/4481)
UW Math placement:         81.1%     no info
UW Engineering placement:  89.7%     no info
```
This shows that Math is below average. What it doesn't show is that Math (at least on January 11th) was the LOWEST placement rate, by far, with 81.1%. So I asked to see the breakdown by department. Here you go:
```
Program       Placed    Number still looking
============================================
ACTSI         95.4%     4/88
AM            86.3%     3/22
CO            100.0%    0/18
AM/PHYS       100.0%    0/2
CS            79.5%     160/782
CS/BIO        61.5%     15/39
CS/DHW        93.3%     1/15
CS/ELE        100.0%    0/8
CS/INFSYS     95.9%     2/49
CS/SE         87.8%     8/66
MATHBUS       65.2%     16/46
MATHBUSACTSC  90.0%     1/10
MATHBUSECON   100.0%    0/3
MATHBUSSYSMGT 87.5%     6/48
MATH          74.7%     47/186
OR            90.0%     1/10
PMATH         100.0%    0/2
PMATHFINAN    100.0%    0/3
STAT          100.0%    0/8
```
And there you have it. Particulary startling for me was the low CS (and CS/BIO) averages, so I asked for a breakdown of CS by year. The chart is as follows:
```CS Year       Placed    Number still looking
============================================
1st           54.1%     119/259
2nd           90.2%     38/388
3rd/4th       97.8%     3/135
```
Take what you will from these stats. To me, they reflect the current economic situation. The non high-tech degrees were relatively unchanged. I mentioned to my contact that I had the impression that some first year students were not satisfied with co-op. And indeed, why not, if 45% of the CS ones don't have jobs but are still shelling out \$400! I was reminded that co-op can't change the job market, but that students in the co-op program probably had a better chance of finding a job than those who weren't. As well, I was told that co-op had taken extra steps to increase job opportunities, including mailing to all faculty, staff, current employers and even previous employers asking for jobs. So take heart, ye without jobs yet!

It was also pointed out to me that the matching part of the process was lower as a result of the weakening high-tech job market. I was told that these averages are comparable to statistics from 1997, and even more so to the economy of the early 90's. However, I did not obtain data on this. Also, I was told that the enrollment in CS has gone up. One person even suggested that the Math Faculty might consider changing its admittance policy on behalf of co-op, since it seems unrealistic in the current and upcoming job climate to place so many CS students. At this point, I laughed slightly and replied that I doubt the Math Faculty would do anything that would reduce its income. It seems unlikely to me that they would change enrollment for co-op when they get tuition and government funding for each student they enroll. True, replied one person I talked to, who felt that the issue of enrollment and money was a complex one which they were not at all qualified to make decisions on.

However, I was strongly encouraged to recommend (especially to discouraged) students to come in and talk to co-op if you have any problems or concerns. I was given two contacts:
Ruth Hawes, NH 1087, 888-4567 x2593, rhawes@uwaterloo.ca
Scott Davis, NH 1007, 888-4567 x3676, sdavis@uwaterloo.ca

One final thing pointed out to me is that the statistics above DO NOT include students who are trying to find their own job outside of the co-op process, but also that less than 5% of students arranged jobs on their own.

So that's the story of co-op placements for this Winter. Good luck to all of you!

Jesse Bergman