‘One-third of PhD recipients work in higher education’

This phenomenon encourages the brain drain and indicates the failure to take advantage of the abilities of highly trained manpower.

July 9, 2013 04:19
2 minute read.
Haifa students at ceremony

Haifa students at ceremony 370. (photo credit: Arik Baltinester/University of Haifa)


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Only a third of those who have earned doctoral degrees in Israel are employed by the universities and colleges, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics for the National Council for Research and Development in the Science, Technology and Space Ministry and released on Monday.

This phenomenon – that a third of people with advanced degrees do not find a place for their research abilities in the job market – encourages the brain drain and indicates the failure to take advantage of the abilities of highly trained manpower.

“Removing the existing blockages [in being hired by universities] can contribute a lot to strengthening R&D in industry and the country’s scientific and technological advancement,” said council chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael.

Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri said the growing numbers of recipients of doctoral degrees are not being absorbed properly in the universities. One solution would be to grant more government aid to research institutes in the private sector, including information and pharmaceutical industries, so they can hire them.

As for gender differences in post-doctoral studies, Over 77 percent of the men did their post-doctoral work abroad – about 54% in the US, 3.5% in England and the rest in other parts of the globe. However, 48% of women with doctorates did their post-doctoral work in Israel – apparently because it was harder for the married graduates to take their families and study abroad.

Ben-Yisrael said that postdoctoral work in advanced institutions abroad is mandatory if one aims at an academic career here. The fact that about half of women with doctorates were unable to do their research abroad hinted at a deep problem that can prevent women from advancing in academia here, he said.

According to the survey, more doctoral graduates in the fields of biological sciences, physical sciences, engineering and architecture are working in research (over 79%) compared to graduates in the fields of mathematics, statistics, computer sciences (about 66%), social sciences and law (about 57%), the humanities (51%) and medicine and agriculture (about 45%).

However, the good news was that 73% of doctoral graduates are working in jobs that require a PhD. About 87% of PhD recipients are working as chemists, biologists and lecturers in institutions of higher education.

The rest are working as managers and in technical and other professions.

Another finding was that only a third of those with a PhD pursued post-doctoral studies; most were in the field of physics, mathematics, statistics and computer sciences and only a minority in the social sciences and law.

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