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OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011
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branch 2. Building Knowledge
  branch 2. Career of doctorate holders

An economy's capacity to draw human resources into research is the basis for creating new knowledge and advancing economic activity. Factors that are likely to -influence career choices of doctoral graduates include -stability, earnings and motivation.

The average employment rate of male and female doctorate holders who obtained their degrees after 1970 is 93%, compared to 70% for all individuals aged 25 to 64 within the economies for which data are available. The difference is particularly marked for Malta, Turkey, Poland and Spain. In most economies, male employment rates slightly exceed those of females. The opposite is true for Bulgaria, Finland, Malta and Chinese Taipei.

Over 23% of graduates at the doctorate level hold fixed-term contracts in the first five years after graduation in 10 out of 16 countries for which data are available, a situation that does not persist in the long run, except in Latvia and the Russian Federation. In the majority of countries, however, temporary employment remains more frequent for doctoral graduates than for other employees.

In all economies for which data are available, gross annual earnings of doctorate holders employed as researchers exceed those of non-researchers in the higher education sector. The picture is mixed for other sectors. Gross annual earnings of doctorate holders in the business enterprise and government sectors fall short of those of their researcher counterparts in higher education in the -Netherlands, -Portugal and Romania. The opposite is true for Belgium. In the business enterprise sector, gross annual earnings for doctorate holders employed as researchers exceed those of other doctorate holders in half of the 13 countries for which data are available.

Definitions

Doctorate holders are all economically active or inactive residents below the age of 70 who have completed, anywhere in the world, the second stage of tertiary education (ISCED level 6) leading to an advanced research qualification. The employment rate of doctorate holders is the ratio of the number of doctorate holders in employment (employees and self-employed) to the total number of doctorate holders residing in the country. The percentage of doctorate holders with temporary contracts is calculated as the share of -doctorate holders on fixed-term contracts in all -doctorate holders employed. The percentage difference in median gross annual earnings between -doctorate holders working as researchers and those not working as researchers is calculated as the difference between the former and latter groups, divided by median gross annual earnings of doctorate holders not working as researchers.

 
How to read this figure

In the Netherlands (NLD) there is no overall earning difference between doctorate holders working as researchers and those not working as researchers. However, as researchers they earn 15% more than non researchers when employed in higher education, and 18% less than non researchers if employed in business enterprises.

Measurability

The Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH) project is a joint OECD/UNESCO Institute for Statistics/Eurostat effort which aims to better understand the labour market, career path and mobility of a population regarded as key to the production and diffusion of knowledge and innovation. As part of the project, methodological guidelines, a model questionnaire and templates for output tables were developed with the help of an expert group composed of statisticians from the participating countries. Owing to the methodological challenges involved, notably the development of national registers of doctorate holders, alternative data sources such as censuses, registers or labour force surveys are used in some countries. This may have an impact on the coverage of the target population, the availability of certain variables or the comparability of the data, although every effort is made to minimise and document the differences. While some large countries such as France, Japan and the United Kingdom still do not formally participate in the project, an increasing number is joining it.

 
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Figures
Employment rate of doctorate holders by gender, 2009 Figure in Excel
Employment rate of doctorate holders by gender, 2009
Doctorate holders on temporary contracts over career path, 2009 Figure in Excel
Doctorate holders on temporary contracts over career path, 2009
Difference in median gross annual earnings of doctorate holders working as researchers and as non-researchers, 2009 Figure in Excel
Difference in median gross annual earnings of doctorate holders working as researchers and as non-researchers, 2009