Report on STEM Ph.D. holders pursuing nonacademic careers

American Institutes for Research logoEarlier this year, the American Institutes for Research issued a report titled “The nonacademic careers of STEM Ph.D. holders.” AIR derived the data from the 2010 Survey of Doctorate Recipients by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. We have reprinted AIR’s key findings with its permission in this issue.
 
As a preface to its analysis, AIR noted previous research showing that more than half of STEM Ph.D. holders work outside of academe and do so for many reasons, not the least of which is the increased competition for a declining number of jobs in academe.
 
AIR’s report noted the following:
  • • The majority of Asian women and men and the majority of white men reported holding nonacademic positions. The other demographic groups surveyed (black women, Hispanic women, white women, black men and Hispanic men) were about evenly split between academic and nonacademic careers.
  • • Most of those in nonacademic careers worked for private, for-profit organizations or for government. Black women, Hispanic women and white women reported working for government at the highest rates.
  • • About half of those in nonacademic careers worked in research and development. Black women, Hispanic women and white women reported working in R&D at the lowest rates.
  • • About 20 percent of those in nonacademic careers worked in non-STEM fields. Black women, Hispanic women and white women reported working outside of STEM at the highest rates.

Click here to read the complete AIR report.


Percentage distribution of employed STEM PhD holders by career type and by STEM field
Percentage distribution of employed STEM PhD holders by career type and by gender and racial/ethnic group
Percentage distribution of employed STEM PhD holders who worked in nonacademic careers, by PhD field
Percentage distribution of STEM PhD holders in nonacademic positions, by career sector and by gender and racial/ethnic group
Percentage distribution of STEM PhD holders in nonacademic positions, by primary work activity and by gender and racial/ethnic group
Percentage distribution of STEMP PhD holders in nonacademic positions by employment outside of STEM and by gender and racial/ethnic group

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