Where Are They Going? Economic Trends of the Scientific Work Force

Friday, February 15, 2013
Room 311 (Hynes Convention Center)
Paula Stephan , Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
The presentation draws on data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients and the Survey of Earned Doctorates to explore employment trends by cohort for those with a PhD in the natural sciences and engineering.  Special emphasis is placed on the biomedical sciences.  The analysis discusses both patterns over time as well as outcomes for those who received their degree subsequent to the recession and financial crisis of 2008.  Time trends include a decrease in the propensity to hold a tenure-track position to such an extent that a tenure-track position has become the “alternative career,” an increase in the propensity to hold a position in industry and an increased propensity to hold a non-research position which is not in academe.  The percent of new graduates opting to take a postdoc position has increased dramatically since the financial meltdown of 2008 as has the percent of individuals who do not have definite plans at the time they receive their PhD.  The presentation also discussed the degree to which the employment of PhDs corresponds to their area of training.