Labor market outcomes of PhD graduated in Canada and the policy implications : an analysis of the national graduate survey in 1997
Master of Education
SubjectDoctor of philosophy degree Canada
Job vacancies Canada Statistics
Professions Canada Statistics
MetadataShow full item record
The emergence of knowledge-based economy has sparked the demand for people who have advanced education and training. The looming faculty shortages in Canadian and other developed countries make a study of the PhD graduates especially urgent. By using 1997 National Graduate Survey (NOS), the thesis aims to analyze the school to work transitions of the PhD graduates in the mid 1990s. An individual’s choice of a field of study (FOS) is treated as a personal agency variable, and gender, visible minority status are considered as the paramount social structure variables when the graduate is trying to initially establish himself or herself in the labor market two years after graduation. Criteria of successful transitions include the graduate’s income, job continuity and job satisfaction. Findings in this study reveal that PhD graduates were facing a tough labor market during the mid 1990s, when their unemployment rate was not far away from bachelor graduates, and even higher than master’s graduates. However, those PhD graduates who can find jobs make a relatively higher income, and are more satisfied with their jobs than those graduates at lower levels. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, this research finds that overall PhD graduates who have worked in academic jobs have relatively higher income than those who have worked in non-academic jobs. Professors also tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than those non-professors. Women were still under represented at the doctoral level. However, this study shows that they are increasingly present in the academic world where men have dominated for many years, hi addition, women PhD graduates have no income gaps with their men counterpart. It is observed that visible minority PhD graduates in the 1997 NGS had a lower annual income than the non-visible minority PhD graduates. It appears that women’s status shows improvement at PhD level, but not those who have visible minority status. Vocational graduates usually earn more than that of the liberal graduates. This study suggests that the crisis of faculty shortage may be exaggerated. First, the major indicators o f labor market outcomes for PhD graduates working in academic jobs are better than those working in non-academic jobs. This finding is directly at odds with one major worry about faculty shortage, which argues that non-academic labor market provides better incentives for PhD graduates. The labor market outcome advantages will attract future PhD graduates to enter the academic labor market. In addition, about eight in ten 1995 PhD graduates have worked in the non-academic labor market, and they may provide additional resources to address the faculty shortage problems. If the supply of PhD graduates is not scarce, then the faculty shortage may not be as severe as predicted. Second, over two in ten master graduates, and almost eight in one hundred bachelor graduates demonstrate that they intend to pursue a PhD in the future, which suggests that PhD candidates may be plentiful in the future. Third, the faculty shortage is not equally distributed across different disciplines. The present research suggests that applied sciences demonstrate more serious shortage than the areas of liberal arts. Lastly, unlike the periods between 1950’s and 1960’s, the last three decades have witnessed the expansion of mass university education in Canada (Lin, 1999), which has greatly enhanced the university system’s capacity to produce PhDs. Therefore, the problem of faculty shortage could be addressed faster than many people now believe.