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Education Indicators in Focus

Education Indicators in Focus is a recurring series of briefs that highlight specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policy makers and practitioners. They provide a detailed look into current issues in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult outcomes from a global perspective, and contain an engaging mix of text, tables and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.

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Who Are the Doctorate Holders and where Do Their Qualifications Lead Them?

  • Many countries have implemented reforms to develop and support doctoral studies and postdoctoral research, stressing the crucial role of doctorate students and degree holders in terms of economic growth, innovation and scientific research.
  • The number of advanced research qualifications being awarded across OECD countries significantly increased over the past decade, growing from 158 000 new doctorates in 2000 to 247 000 in 2012, a rise of 56%. International students get one in five of these new doctorates.
  • Even though the share of women in doctorate programmes has increased over the last decade (as in other levels of education), by 2012 women were still less likely than men to earn an advanced research qualification.
  • On average, individuals with advanced research qualifications benefit from higher employment rates compared to other university-level graduates (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees combined).
  • The business enterprise sector offers better wages for new doctorate holders than the higher education and government sectors, but also unequal opportunities, depending on the field in which they graduate.

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