University of Alberta Grads Contribute $250B to Global Economy

A new survey shows the impact of U of A grads, including creating 560,000 jobs in Alberta — more than 22 per cent of the province’s total workforce.

University of Alberta grads contribute $250 billion to the global economy every year — roughly the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand. 

That’s one finding of a 2024 survey by Ernst & Young that demonstrates the impact of U of A grads in economic, cultural and social spheres around the world. 

According to the survey, U of A alumni have founded more than 75,000 companies and employ 922,000 people worldwide. Together, they have invested $8.7 billion in 59,000 startups and $12.1 billion in 122,000 established businesses varying from health care to arts and entertainment. There are currently more than 300,000 U of A grads around the world.

“Alumni represent the best of the U of A across every corner of the globe. Now we can quantify just how large a footprint they make in economic, intellectual and cultural arenas here in Alberta and around the world,” says Bill Flanagan, president of the University of Alberta. 

The survey found that 71 per cent of grads work for Alberta-based organizations. Of the 922,000 people employed worldwide by alumni-founded companies, 560,000 of them are in Alberta — more than 22 per cent of the province’s total workforce. 

The alumni impact survey shows that every year, U of A alumni-founded companies contribute $136.4 billion to the Alberta economy — equal to 41 per cent of Alberta’s GDP. That’s the equivalent of Alberta’s top three industries: oil and gas, real estate and manufacturing, which combined make up 41.3 per cent of the province’s total GDP. 

“The findings of the alumni impact survey demonstrate how U of A grads are changemakers,” says Ashton Rudanec, president of the U of A Alumni Association and director of sustainable investing at Alberta Investment Management Corporation. “It’s one of the many reasons I’m so proud to be part of this community. I truly believe that, when we work together, we have the capacity to shape the world.”

U of A grads also make a difference beyond the economy. The alumni impact survey found that 86 per cent of grads had volunteered in the previous 12 months and had given a collective $979 million in charitable donations over the year. And 65 per cent of grads are committed to careers that make substantial contributions to the social and economic welfare of the wider public. 

“We have always known that U of A grads enrich the communities where they work and live. Now we have the numbers demonstrating that U of A alumni are a vital economic driver in Canada and Alberta especially in Alberta’s priority growth sectors,” says Flanagan. “As we grow our student body to 60,000 students by 2030, the future impact of U of A alumni will only multiply. ”

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