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Careers of Doctorate Holders: Employment and Mobility Patterns


  • Laudeline Auriol



This paper presents the results of the first large-scale data collection conducted in the framework of the OECD/UNESCO Institute for Statistics/Eurostat project on Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH). Doctorate holders represent a crucial human resource for research and innovation. While they benefit from an employment premium, doctoral graduates encounter a number of difficulties on the labour market, notably in terms of working conditions. These difficulties are to some extent linked to the changes affecting the research systems, where employment conditions have become less attractive. Women, whose presence among doctoral graduates has grown over the years, are more affected by these challenges. The labour market of doctoral graduates is more internationalised than that of other tertiary-level graduates and the doctoral population is a highly internationally mobile one. In the European countries for which data are available, 15% to 30% of doctorate holders who are citizens of the reporting country have experienced mobility abroad during the past ten years. Migration and mobility patterns of doctoral graduates are similar to those of other tertiary level and other categories of the population with important flows towards the United States, principally from the Asian countries, and large intra-European flows, notably towards France, Germany and the United Kingdom. While a number of foreign graduates receive their doctorate in the host country, a large share (and the majority in the Western European countries for which data are available) have acquired their doctoral degree out of the host country and experienced mobility afterwards. Mobility of doctorate holders is driven by a variety of reasons that can be academic, job related as well as family and personal. Les carrières des titulaires de doctorat : données d'emploi et de mobilité Ce document présente les résultats de la première collecte de données de grande échelle menée dans le cadre du projet conjoint OCDE/Institut Statistique de l’UNESCO/Eurostat sur les Carrières des Titulaires de Doctorat (CTD). Les titulaires de doctorat constituent une ressource capitale pour la recherche et l’innovation. Bien que bénéficiant d’un avantage en termes de taux d’emploi, les diplômés de doctorat sont confrontés à un certain nombre d’obstacles sur le marché du travail, notamment en ce qui concerne leurs conditions d’engagement. Ces difficultés sont en partie liées aux transformations affectant les systèmes de recherche, où les conditions d’emploi sont devenues moins attractives. Les femmes, dont la présence parmi les diplômés de doctorat s’est accrue au cours des années, sont davantage affectées par ces écueils. L’internationalisation du marché du travail est plus marquée pour les diplômés de doctorat que pour les autres diplômés de l’université et la population doctorale est fortement mobile au plan international. Dans les pays européens pour lesquels les données sont disponibles, 15% à 30% des ressortissants du pays titulaires d’un doctorat ont effectué une mobilité à l’étranger au cours des dernières années. Les destinations des diplômés de doctorat migrants ou mobiles sont semblables à celles des autres diplômés de l’enseignement supérieur et des autres catégories de population, avec des flux importants vers les États- Unis, principalement en provenance des pays d’Asie, et des flux intra-européens conséquents, notamment vers l’Allemagne, la France et le Royaume-Uni. Bien qu’un certain nombre de diplômés étrangers reçoivent leur doctorat dans le pays hôte, une proportion importante (et la majorité dans les pays d’Europe de l’ouest pour lesquels les données sont disponibles) obtiennent leur diplôme de doctorat en dehors du pays. La mobilité des titulaires de doctorat est motivée par des raisons diverses qui peuvent être académiques, professionnelles aussi bien que familiales et personnelles.

Suggested Citation

  • Laudeline Auriol, 2010. "Careers of Doctorate Holders: Employment and Mobility Patterns," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2010/4, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stiaaa:2010/4-en

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    Blog mentions

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    1. The international flow of doctorates
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-12-21 21:55:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Bastien Bernela, 2015. "Professional and geographical paths: the study of three generations of PhDs
      [Trajectoires professionnelles et géographiques : l'étude de trois générations de docteurs]
      ," Working Papers halshs-01085008, HAL.
    2. Ronald Inglehart & Tatiana Karabchuk & Stanislav Moiseev & Marina Nikitina, 2013. "International Research Laboratories in Russia: Factors Underlying Scientists’ Satisfaction with their Work," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 7(4), pages 44-59.
    3. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
    4. Krzysztof Klincewicz & Katarzyna Szkuta, 2016. "RIO Country Report 2015: Poland," JRC Working Papers JRC101207, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    5. Santos, João M. & Horta, Hugo & Heitor, Manuel, 2016. "Too many PhDs? An invalid argument for countries developing their scientific and academic systems: The case of Portugal," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 352-362.
    6. Gaeta, Giuseppe Lucio & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe & Pastore, Francesco, 2018. "Overeducation wage penalty among Ph.D. holders. An unconditional quantile regression analysis on Italian data," GLO Discussion Paper Series 180, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Badulescu Alina & Badulescu Daniel, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Attitudes Among Romanian Doctoral Students: An Empirical Study," Balkan Region Conference on Engineering and Business Education, De Gruyter Open, vol. 1(1), pages 11-16, August.
    8. Marc van der Steeg & Karen van der Wiel & Bram Wouterse, 2014. "Individual Returns to a PhD Education in the Netherlands: Income Differences between Masters and PhDs," CPB Discussion Paper 276, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    9. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1558-x is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:17:y:2017:i:5:p:1009-1038. is not listed on IDEAS

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