Where Are Canada’s PhDs Employed?

Each year, Canadian universities award doctoral degrees to thousands of individuals who have mastered a field of knowledge and developed advanced research skills. By 2011, Canadian institutions were graduating more than 6,000 new doctorates annually, while many more Canadians were earning PhDs at institutions abroad, and thousands more PhDs were being recruited through immigration.1 Roughly half of all PhDs in Canada are held by immigrants. With 208,480 people holding PhDs—including 161,805 held by those aged 25 to 64—Canada has nearly 50 per cent more people with doctorates today than was the case in 2001.2

While the number of PhDs has increased dramatically, questions are being asked about whether the economy and society can support and benefit from them all. Doctorates have low unemployment (4.1 per cent)—below the rate for all Canadians (6.2 per cent)—and a high labour force participation rate (89.3 per cent)—higher than that of all Canadians (80.3 per cent).3 But few are employed as university professors—the standard career goal of most doctoral students. In fact, only 18.6 per cent of PhDs are employed as full-time university professors, and fewer still hold tenured or tenure-track positions.4 Where are the other 80 to 90 per cent of Canada’s PhDs employed? <Read more.>

Via Daniel Munro, The Conference Board of Canada.