Only one in three PhD graduates works at a university

A dissertation by no means guarantees entry to an academic career. The vast majority of PhD graduates are employed outside academia, reports Statistics Netherlands.

Some PhD graduates pocket their diploma and immediately wave goodbye to university. Others work as postdoctoral researcher for a while before doing something else. It is understandable, because there simply is not a job in academia for every doctor.

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Only one in three PhD graduates works at a university, reports Statistics Netherlands. They are lecturers or researchers, or they start working as medical specialists in a university hospital.

Outside the walls of the university, PhD graduates work mainly for public authorities, Statistics Netherlands reports. However, they also often work at universities of applied sciences, ‘general’ hospitals or other treatment centres.

Female PhD graduates are more likely to work at university than men – regardless of age. The figures are 38 percent compared to 32 percent. That is remarkable, because women are underrepresented at university. There are still many more male professors than female.

That could be down to the disciplines. Those who earn a PhD in education, art, languages and history are much more likely to work at a university (over 40 percent) than those who obtain their PhD in engineering, industry or architecture (less than 20 percent).

Moreover, the number of doctorates has increased considerably since 1990 from 1,900 in the academic year 1990-91 to about 5,000 in 2018-19. Women, in particular, have become more likely to obtain a PhD.

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