Vitae’s most recent research suggests some positive indicators for PhDs’ employment prospects. Comparing two different cohorts, from 2008 and 2010, against each other and against undergraduate and Masters students,
- 77% of doctoral graduate respondents were in full-time employment which had kept pace with earlier cohorts, unlike Masters and undergraduates
- PhDs are found to have a salary premium
- PhDs’ salaries have kept pace broadly with overall UK earnings
- PhDs employed in HE are more likely to be earning more than researchers outside HE
- PhDs are likely to be employed on fixed-term contracts, though less so than Masters and undergrads
- PhDs may be unemployed for a short period after the completion of their degree but at a lower rate.
Vitae concludes that ‘there is evidence that doctoral graduates have generally fared better during the early years of the economic downturn and therefore may be regarded as more ‘recession-proof’ than those with masters or good first degrees.’