Satisfied or Money Back: Should Policy Keep Educating PhD Holders Despite Market Frictions?

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On 9th February 2022, City-REDI held a seminar featuring Dr Cornelia Lawson from The University of Manchester, MIOIR:

Satisfied or Money Back: Should Policy Keep Educating PhD Holders Despite Market Frictions?

Co-authored by Cindy Lopes Bento

The paper is framed in the ongoing debate around whether universities produce too many PhD students in light of the limited number of available permanent faculty positions.

The work contributes to the current understanding of the job market for academics by comparing job satisfaction and motivations of PhD holders outside of academia (industry or public sector) to those in academia, and by comparing job satisfaction and motivations of PhD holders and PhD dropouts.

The analysis relies on a unique survey of 608 PhD grant applicants (funded and not) to the Luxembourgish Funding Council, which attracts many international applicants and funds studies abroad or within Luxembourg from 2009-2019.

Primary data is complemented with career information from Web-search, Web Archive, LinkedIn profiles, publicly available dissertations, other CVs or public profiles e.g. Scopus, Google Scholar, Researchgate.

Empirically, the analysis shows that despite similar preferences, PhD holders and dropouts differ in actual job outcomes, and importantly, in their job satisfaction. This is largely explained by job content.

The analysis shows that many PhD graduates leave academia and that this does not result in lower job satisfaction, they even may be more satisfied despite a preference for academic employment.

The results also find that graduates are more satisfied in their jobs than dropouts.

These findings are of relevance to employers and policy as they inform them on the job match of graduates and on the opportunity cost of pursuing a PhD.

Upcoming seminars
Date Title of Seminar Speaker Institution Book a place
2 March Global Mobile Inventors Dr Ernest Miguelez University of Bordeaux Register
16 March Population displacement and urban conflict Dr David Castells-Quintana University Autonomous of Barcelona Register
30 March Motorsport Valley Professor Nick Henry Coventry University Register
27 April The effect of co-location on business R&D in Great Britain Dr John Moffat Durham University Register
11 May Just Reallocated? Robots, Displacement and Job Quality Liliana Cuccu University of Barcelona Register
25 May The Material Basis of Modern Technologies – A Case Study on Rare Metals George Li London School of Economics Register
8 June Measuring the Regional Digital economy: A pilot Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Satellite Account for Wales Dr Chen Xu Cardiff University Register
22 June Place-based innovation policies in the era of grand societal challenges Professor Michaela Trippl University of Vienna Register

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