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The impact of a doctorate

The careers and job prospects of doctorate holders in the Netherlands
Academic careers PhD students
The majority of doctorate holders work in public and private non-academic sectors. That means that a doctorate’s significance goes well beyond that attributed to it in academia. In this report, data of 16.000 doctorate holders have been analysed.

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Summary

Statistics Netherlands’ Careers of Doctorate Holders dataset is unique. It collected the data at the request of the OECD as part of an international comparative study. Statistics Netherlands last collected data in 2014 by distributing a questionnaire to more than 16,000 doctorate holders who had received their degrees in the previous 22 years. It gave the Rathenau Instituut the opportunity to analyse these microdata.1 Our analyses provided quite a bit of information on the importance of a doctorate degree in society. Our focus was on the Netherlands: the job market for doctorate holders, the importance of the expertise and skills that they acquire during their training, and how much value they themselves attribute to their degree.

Beyond academia

Our conclusion is that having a doctorate matters both within academia but also beyond. Thirty percent of doctorate holders work for a university or university hospital; the other 70% are employed in public and private non-academic sectors. That means that a doctorate’s significance goes well beyond that attributed to it in academia. The unemployment rate among doctorate holders is negligible. They also apply their expertise and research skills in non-academic jobs. Research is a major component of their work later on. Doctorate holders are therefore largely satisfied with their situation and would do a doctorate again if they had to restart their career.

Six fields of study

This report discusses data on doctorate holders in six separate fields of study: the Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, the Agricultural Sciences, the Medical and Health Sciences, the Social Sciences and the Humanities. Each of these fields has its own attributes and differs from the others in size. Each has distinguishing features.


For example, doctorate holders in the Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and the Agricultural Sciences are somewhat less likely to work for a university, with two thirds opting to work in the business enterprise sector. They also clearly earn more than their counterparts at universities and have much more job security.

 

Please cite as:
Koier, E. and J. de Jonge (2018). The impact of a doctorate. The careers and job prospects of doctorate holders in the Netherlands. The Hague: Rathenau Instituut

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