Doctoral graduates are ‘recession proof’ says new research

What do researchers doVitae, the national organisation supporting the career development of researchers, has published a new piece of research on early career progression of doctoral graduates.  They compared the destinations of two groups of PhD graduates from 2010 and 2008 who were surveyed 3 years after completion of their PhD.  In addition, they compared the outcomes of these groups with destinations of undergraduates and Masters students 3 years on.  They found evidence that PhD graduates are faring better in the current economic climate compared to the other groups.

  • Over 90% of doctoral graduates respondents in 2010 were in employment, very similar to the position 2 years earlier.
  • 77% of doctoral graduates respondents were in full-time employment, consistent with 2 years earlier, while masters and first degree respondents had seen falls of 5% over the same period.
  • In general, doctoral graduates earn more than masters or first degree graduates.
  • 72% of doctoral graduates were earning over £30,000 in 2010, compared with 56% of masters and 22% of first degree graduates.
  • Many doctoral graduates in HE research earn more than those working in no-HE research.
  • Fewer doctoral graduates were employed on open-ended contracts (68%) than masters (76% and first degree graduates (78%) perhaps reflecting the numbers working in HE research, were many are employed on fixed-term contracts.
  • 92% doctoral graduates reported high levels of career satisfaction.

Vitae conclude that ‘those with a doctoral qualification are more “recession proof” than those with other qualifications.’  To read the full report go to the Vitae website.

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