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

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 …

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Coat

Not a great improvement on the normal chances then

98.3% Chance of having a job if you spent a few years cutting and pasting from Wikipedia

vs

93.4% Chance of having a job if you found wiminz, booze and enjoyed yourself

Hardly a great advert for ruining your eyes and having sand kicked in your face on the beech (if you ever got a chance to go to one)

At least in the Uk the people who had fun have a real chance of loosing their jobs and balancing the scales a bit!

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US PhD

Based on (admitedly limited) experience of post grad study at one US university (UC Berkeley).

1) Top US PhDs involve a lot of demanding and advanced work, including two years advanced course work (at least when I was there)

2) Many doing post grad study were doing so to help them get a hgh paying technical job.

With that motivation and dedication its not wholly suprising that they tend to be employed.

P.S. Succeeding in something challenging is a source of enjoyment and satisfaction.

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Another difference between the US and the UK

They still have thriving engineering and science sectors in their economy, we have openings for mortgage brokers, pizza delivery boys and the insanely large number of people required to sell Sky TV packages in shopping centres.

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Pint

Some never got the choice

Never got a chance to go to uni, it was never an option open to me due to financial need at the time. It has not really held me back as such, I have managed to get along just fine. I have no delusions about being management material, happy to just be a lowly systems admin on the factory floor. I know the older I get the more doors close on me, that's not a good prospect.

It has been tough to convince prospective employers of my worth purely on my experience, but it has meant I work harder to prove my worth when given the chance. I have had the misfortune to have had to work with those who seem to have abused the higher education system. Those who simply seem to got jobs based purely on having a qualification they never really worked that hard for. Even now these 'slackers' seem content to not bother learning anymore, considering it too much work to learn on the job after having had to learn in college!

I am doing all I can to encourage my kids to not have to go without a shot at further education. It may be tough on me to cover costs for them but if that's what they wish to do, I will support it any way I can as it will open doors for them in the long run.

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Silver badge
Flame

You victims piss me off!

"never got the chance..." bollocks!

There are always opportunities for further education, even at university level, while you are employed.

I did post-grad computer science studies while employed and while I was conscripted in the South African army. I had to drop one course because it clashed with military exercises but took it again the next year.

When I lived in South Africa I worked with a black guy who really had to grind to get his education. He studied computer science during the apartheid era while living in a tiny dwelling where he lived with his mother. brother, wife and kids. His only study area was the kitchen table which was only available in the evenings after the meal had been made and eaten and the kids had been put to bed. He was working full time, catching a morning bus at around 6 am and getting home at 6.30pm.

If he could make the opportunity then anyone can!

Now tell me you never had the opportunity..... absolute bollocks!

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Part of the unlucky 1%

I've been essentially unemployed (< 1/4 time employed) for the last 18 months, in spite of my PhD in electrical engineering. Guess I picked an inopportune time to quit and relocate to the midwest!

The difficulty I have encountered has been with trying to break into a new field in this economy and job market. While I have over 8 years of semiconductor manufacturing experience, this seems to count for little when applying for an engineering position in a different manufacturing area. Employers are demanding very specific experience in their own manufacturing field and the extensive job pool is able to supply it.

In addition, employers are reluctant to hire. Though I was chosen as the top candidate for a position following a lengthy interview process, the company's management indefinitely froze hiring.

Having a doctorate may better insulate a worker from being sacked or made redundant, but it doesn't necessarily improve the chances of obtaining a position.

Cheers

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Jobs Halo

100% Work if you add the other factor

I agree UK PLC is a service based economy, bean-counters rule. The US, Japan and Germany on the other hand still actually have a say in engineering and science and I would expect the figure to be better.

For example living where I do is a lifestyle choice, the arse end of nowhere on the other side of the world, even Steve Jobs would be hard pushed to get an IT Job here, (unless he could also sheer sheep), likewise someone with a vulcanology degree is not going to have a hard time getting a job in that field in Birmingham!

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WTF?

Data gathered 2008 ?

this is fucking useful .. one would think the US National Science Foundation would have statistics people capable of determining 2010 figures, which would take no more than good knowledge of basic numbers gathering and a bit of division

why even print this when the economic situation has changed so much since 2008 ?

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Silver badge

LOL

I'm sure their people are capable of handling the 2010 figures but being gubbermint they won't get the relevant data for at least another year. That is, unless they misplace that particular shoebox for a few years.

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Silver badge

It's worse when you get hired

If you are a techie at a UK company you will stay at the lab bench (or in front of a compiler) only accountants and lawyers get to be managers. Last place I worked in the UK only one scientist made it to own office status - and only because he worked in sales.

In the US the chairman of the board and CEO are both scientists. We work mostly with German and Korean clients where everybody at the top are technical experts - imagine having a car company headed by mechanical engineers or a chip maker headed by manufacturing engineers, those crazy foreigners !

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Don't want to be a manager

But I *don't* want to be management, I want to be a *coder*!!! Why on earth do companies punish their employees by removing them from their natural skills field and forcing them to be managers?

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Boffin

Unemployed nuclear physicist (will build bombs for food)

I would be more interested if they had broken it down into people doing jobs related to their degree. Is could just be that people with Sci/Tech degrees have no compunction about taking a crappy job if there is nothing else available? Well at least until the next Dictator with big ambitions comes along.

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Anonymous Coward

Assumed to be unemployed?

I recognise the phrase "assumed to be unemployed" or "not available for employment". I've a lad who hope to start a course in Aeronauctical Engineering this autumn and when universities list, in the relevant prospectus, their students past pass rates these phrases appear in the list.

So far as I can tell it could actually mean something like "they were foreign students and we've not heard from them since the end of the course" which is whole lot different from them being actually unemployed. If they are "assumed to be unemployed" (not known to be unemployed) in the UK and in the US there's rosier spin you've an explanation for some if not all of the difference.

Well I can hope.

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Not the case for Chemistry?

I personally know one inorganic Chemistry PHd working in NY state for a drugs company who got canned. Sadly, there are exceptions...he knows a few :-(

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Boffin

According to a recent Bureau of Labo[u]r Statistics

press release, the US unemployment rate in December 2010 was 9.4 %. Taking into account that people who have given up looking for work as they find the situation hopeless are not included in this figure, the real rate of unemployed is likely to be much higher, and it would be surprising if tech doctors were not affected by the general economic malaise in that country. What will prove interesting to follow is how many of these holders of scientific or technical doctorates will migrate to places like China, where their capabilities can be employed, just as very large numbers of Soviet scientists and engineers migrated to North America and Western Europe with the collapse of the Soviet Union....

Henri

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