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Survey: "PhDs, Generation 2003"

Fabrice Martin, translation by Cynthia Schoch

A survey conducted by the Institut de recherche en éducation, sociologie et économie de l'éducation (IREDU) on 2003 PhD recipients and their career status in 2006.

The figures compiled by the IREDU, apparently fairly stable with respect to the previous survey in 2004 pertaining to PhDs having received their degree in 2001, paint a rather dark picture of the professional status of PhDs three years after defending their thesis.

The unemployment rate hasn’t increased but remains fairly high at 11% and the institute notes that nearly one-fourth of the population is still working on a short-term contract basis. The public sector, which employs 64% of the PhDs, is not a guard against instability, because it also represents nearly 77% of the fixed-term contracts.

The disciplines most affected by unemployment and short-term employment are chemistry, life sciences and earth sciences. The unpleasant surprise comes from a confirmation in the rise in unemployment for engineering sciences (2% in 2001, 6% in 2004 and 9% in 2006). The nice surprise is an improved situation in literature and human sciences where the unemployment rate has decreased from 20% in 2001 to 10% in 2006 and the proportion of short-term contracts from 29 to 19%.

PhDs 2003: Survey on the professional integration of young PhDs – an assessment three years after the PhD, IREDU, January 2007.