PhDs wanted at job market


Unemployment among Dutch PhDs is very low. No less than 98 percent of them has a job – although usually not at a university, the Rathenau Institute says.

Read in Dutch

The number of people doing a PhD has more than doubled in the past 25 years: from an annual two thousand in 1991, to around five thousand in 2016, research done by the Rathenau Institute shows. Nearly all people with a PhD have found jobs: on average, only two percent is unemployed.

There are some differences noticeable between disciplines. PhDs in language & culture and nature are on average twice as likely to be unemployed (3.3 and 3.1 percent, respectively) as their colleagues in agriculture (1.2 percent) and health (1.6 percent).

Earlier research done by the Rathenau Institute and the Netherlands showed that over half of PhDs have the ambition to pursue a career in academia, but there aren’t enough jobs to keep up with the number of people promoting.

That image is now reaffirmed. Only thirty percent finds a job at a university or academic hospital. The other 70 percent often works as researcher at a consultancy or engineering company – where, by the way, they generally make around seven thousand euros a year more than at a university.

Highly appreciated
“Promotions aren’t done exclusively for the sake of pursuing a career at a university,” says Melanie Peters, director of the Rathenau Institute. “In our knowledge-based society, a PhD is often preparation for a job in which the knowledge and research skills of PhDs are highly appreciated.”

For its career analyses, the Rathenau Institute used a questionnaire done by Statistics Netherlands, done in 2014, which had sixteen thousand respondents who had promoted in the past 22 years.

Translation: Indra Spronk

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