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Sci/tech doctorate protects you from unemployment – in the US

Picture rather different in old Blighty

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Research carried out in the US suggests that having a science doctorate there will almost entirely protect you from becoming unemployed, a picture contrasting with that in the UK.

Data gathered in 2008 and released yesterday by the US National Science Foundation shows that doctorate degree holders in science, engineering or health fields had an unemployment rate of 1.7 per cent as compared to 6.6 per cent for the American labour force in general.

Among science/engineering/health doctorate holders, the lowest unemployment rate was among specialists in mathematics and statistics, just 1 per cent of whom were unemployed. The next best field to be in was computing and IT, whose PhDs saw just 1.1 per cent unemployment. The highest sci/eng/health unemployment was seen among US physical-sciences PhDs, 2.4 per cent of whom were jobless.

This picture varies from that in the UK: according to the British government, 7.5 per cent of PhD graduates in the physical sciences are either "assumed to be unemployed" or "not available for employment". This figure rises to 9.9 per cent in the case of arts and humanities PhDs, and 8.2 per cent for social-sciences PhDs.

Unemployment across the labour force in the UK is assessed as 7.7 per cent at the moment, though it should be borne in mind that this is not measured in the same way or at the same period as the PhD data or the US doctorates stats. The various figures offer a rough comparison only.

More details on the US doctorates statistics can be read here courtesy of the NSF. ®

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