Seminar  |  11/24/2021 | 03:00 PM  –  04:15 PM

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Seminar: Satisfied or Money Back – Should Policy Keep Educating PhD Holders despite Market Frictions?

Cindy Lopes-Bento (KU Leuven)

Seminars currently take place in online format (see seminar page).

There is an ongoing debate around whether or not universities produce too many PhD students in light of the limited number of available permanent faculty positions. A body of literature has emerged that investigate the destinations and career preferences of PhD students, but has neglected the importance of graduates’ job satisfaction, which is vital for an employee to be productive and to contribute to society. This paper contributes to our current understanding of the job market for academics by comparing job satisfaction and motivations of PhD holders outside of academia (industry or government) to those in academia, and by comparing job satisfaction and motivations of PhD holders compared to PhD drop-outs. We rely on a unique survey of 608 PhD grant applicants at the FNR and, in line with prior research, find a strong preference for intrinsic motivations and jobs in academia. We also show that many graduates leave academia and that this does not result in lower job satisfaction. However, there are distinct job satisfaction profiles, in terms of job attributes, for different sectors. These findings are of relevance to employers and policy as they inform them on job match of graduates and on the opportunity cost of pursuing a PhD. (Joint work with Cornelia Lawson, University of Manchester)

Contact person: Rainer Widmann