The University of Toronto has released a new study tracking their PhD graduate outcomes. The survey gathered data from more than 10 000 students who graduated with PhDs between 2005 and 2015. They found that only 1/5 of PhD graduates find work in the private sector, though this varied by discipline.
From the Globe & Mail:
“While 80 per cent of people with PhDs in humanities work in the postsecondary sector and only 6 per cent are in the private sector, fewer than half of graduates in the physical sciences work in higher education and 40 per cent work in industry. Half of those who have jobs in higher education in both fields are tenure-track professors.
"What we see in the data is that people are getting a diversity of jobs," said Joshua Barker, dean of the school of graduate studies at U of T. "It does not surprise me that employers are recognizing the value [of a PhD], particularly in sectors where there is complex work going on, in biotech and infotech, but also in [higher education] where you are the infrastructure of the broader knowledge economy."
University of Toronto has also launched an interactive tool allowing anyone to look through the data. You can see that here.
We strongly support University of Toronto’s initiative in gathering data on their graduates. As more people graduate from PhD programs with only a finite of tenure-track academic positions, graduates must be better prepared for alternative career choices and data is a crucial step in knowing how to prepare them. Hopefully UofT can begin a trend of data collection across Canadian universities. For more on this topic, you can read our White Paper on the topic of Career Preparation for STEM students here.