Career paths for PhD students

In response to recent public commentary regarding the lack of secure science jobs for PhD graduates, Academy President Andrew Holmes AM PresAA FRS FTSE and Secretary Science Policy Les Field AM FAA published an article in The Conversation: There’s work (and life) outside of universities for PhD graduates.

They make the point that STEM PhD graduates on average have lower unemployment rates and higher salaries than almost every other category of university graduates, and that while only 2% of PhD graduates could realistically expect to reach professorial levels and enjoy the privilege of an uninterrupted academic career, the modern PhD is an excellent preparation for jobs in a broad range of industries.

They also acknowledge that the challenges involved in an academic career—particularly for early and mid-career researchers, and those with family or caring responsibilities—makes it an extremely difficult path for many. There is an urgent need to invest in programs that provide a more secure pipeline of scientists and researchers for Australia, while also better preparing PhD students for careers outside of academia.

The modern PhD is an excellent preparation for jobs in a broad range of industries.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science

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