Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Busy this morning, but for your consumption, the latest data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates for 2012. Things look about the same as 2011, but still a little grim. Here's the data for employment for chemistry PhDs. Sure looks to me like the modal outcome of a chemistry PhD is a postdoc. 


  1. The US is producing 20,000 Life and Physical Science PhD's a year.

    SO: are there 20,000 L and P S jobs for pHDs appearing each year?


    1,000 ?

    10 ?

    or maybe 1?

    Then we bring in a ton of immigrants as post-docs.....

  2. After looking at the picture that goes along with the article, I can only think that I'm glad I didn't go to that graduation ceremony for my PhD; you just play dress-up for lots of money and waste a day that can be better spent playing video games. And that was with having first author Jackass, Andjewandte, and Chemical Misscomunication pubs and being one of the top PhDs in my department that year. Missing the ceremony turned out a correct decision in retrospect as I'm in a crappy temporary jobs that pays peanuts, but also for other reasons. I don't have warm memories about my PhD place still, and being at the ceremony would only have made it worse.

    The employment survey shows that while I maybe made some bad decisions consciously and didn't think too much about the future, it's not that hard to find yourself shit out of luck with a Chemistry PhD even if you do things right.

  3. I wasn't aware of this data before, some of the other tables are also quite interesting http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/sed/2012/data_table.cfm

    1 in 5 employed upon graduation, 2 in 5 going on to do a post-doc, and the balance presumably made up of some very worried individuals. this after a median degree completion time of 6 years, (7 years from bachelor's degree). those lucky employed make 78k, the postdocs 40k

  4. So the unemployment of life science Ph.D is about 30%? Why there is no one, no media pay attention to this problem? They wasted their front pages on fast food workers deserve $15 / hr.

    1. Go to Amazon.com and read the reviews for the book Anti-intellectualism by Joseph Hofstadter. It sums up a lot of the attitudes of the majority about the intellectual elite.