The Survey of Earned Doctorates is a remarkably complete and accurate yearly census that collects the demographic data and future plans of people who have recently obtained their PhD. Due to its large scope, however, this national survey is limited in the level of specificity it can obtain from its respondents. The placement classifications are broad (postdoc, employed, still looking) and the employment categories, when broken down further, don’t really elucidate that much either (Academe, Government, Industry, Nonprofit, and Other). Finally, it does not account for those who leave PhD programs with a master's degree and subsequently go on to have great careers.
Enter the Highly Informative Repository of Employment Data for PhDs (HIRED-PhD), a database designed to improve transparency regarding post-graduation employment for people with advanced degrees. Individual research groups keep much better tabs on their alumni than a national survey ever could - why not aggregate this information such that we can compare employment outcomes by university, department, and PI?
Do higher departmental rankings really translate into better job opportunities? Which research group should you join if you’re dead-set on teaching at a PUI? What jobs do people get that fall under the incredibly vague “Other” umbrella? HIRED aims to answer questions like these, and to provide current and soon-to-be grad students with information to help them make career-defining decisions.
HIRED will use data scraped from group websites to track the career trajectories of alumni, along with metrics like time to graduation, department ranking, degree obtained (PhD/MS/MA), and length of their PI’s career. The database will also include information on the employment institutions (universities, businesses, or nonprofits) such as number of employees, year founded, industry (higher ed/energy/pharma/etc.) and location.
To learn more about the project, visit the website or the Github repository, which contains some sample data and documentation. If you’d like to contribute your research group’s alumni data, or if you have suggestions for other interesting metrics, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.