On Campus

Canadian PhDs head south

Between a third and half of recent doctoral holders say they are overqualified for their jobs

About 12 per cent of recent Canadian PhD recipients are employed south of the border, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Survey of Earned Doctorates.

The study that tracked the labour market outcomes of PhD holders who graduated in 2005 found that specialists in the life sciences, and computer, mathematics, and physical sciences, were more likely to take a position in the United States, though most indicated a desire to return to Canada.

By 2007, 56 per cent of 2005’s 4,200 graduates, were employed in the educational services, mostly universities, but there was significant range between different fields of study. While 77 per cent of humanities graduates had found work in an educational institution only 34 per cent of engineering grads were employed in an educational environment.

The median income for PhD holders was $65,000, but was lower for those entering a postdoctoral fellowship, at $54,000, compared to those who had directly entered the workforce who reported a median salary of $72,000.

Several graduates indicated they were overqualified for their current position. Among engineering PhD holders, 28 per cent said they were overqualified for their job, while 43 per cent of those from education and other fields said they were working in jobs that did not require a PhD.

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