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For anyone who is a current or former, how do PhDs fare?

  1. Sep 28, 2013 #1
    This is for anyone who is currently a PhD student in physics or has completed a PhD sometime in the recent past, i.e. within 4-5 years ago or so. This is meant to be a follow up to another question i asked earlier.

    Of everyone who know who has gotten a Physics PhD, what percentage of them, roughly, have gone on to post-docs in physics, what percentage of them have gotten post docs in other fields, what percentage have gotten industry jobs in physics, what percentage have gotten industry jobs in other fields, what percentage have gotten finance/banking/analyst jobs, what percentage went into unskilled labor jobs and what percentage found themselves unemployed or underemployed, i.e. working only part time?

    Obviously knowing exact percentages is tough so here I am looking only for approximate percentages in each category.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2013 #2
    Speaking only for my former colleagues (implying the numbers below to be systematically skewed wrt. the group of all physics PhDs) and as guesswork:

    post-docs in physics: 30%
    post docs in other fields: 10% (hard to gauge because in many fields distinctions are blurry)
    industry jobs in physics: What is that supposed to be?
    industry jobs in other fields: 30% (non-university, non-fundamental research in the public sector being included here)
    finance/banking/analyst jobs: I'll re-interpret this as "consulting": 30%
    unskilled labor jobs,unemployed, involuntarily part-time work: 0%

    The last number should be taken with a bit of care: Some people indeed did not find a job and simply went for a post-doc, instead.

    EDIT: Since this forums focusses heavily on the US: Above numbers are from a German theory department (math. physics, biophysics, solid state, complex systems).
  4. Sep 28, 2013 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For American statistics visit the American Physical Society (APS) website; they conduct surveys periodically.
  5. Sep 28, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    I would expect the outcome to depend on the field and on experimental vs. theoretical orientation. Therefore any answers should include that information in order to be useful.
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