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Ph.D. students in Europe, and Beyond: Numbers and Job Prospects

As counted by Eurostat, more than 525,000 students were doing a Ph.D. across the 27 Member States of the European Union in 2004. That year, more than 93,000 students obtained their doctorate — twice as many as in the United States and six times more than in Japan. Around 26,000 of the newly granted Ph.D.s were in science, mathematics, and computing. Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain were the four biggest producers of science Ph.D.s.

The report also mentions an ongoing survey from Eurostat, the OECD, and UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics aimed at tracing the careers of doctorate-holders at a global scale. Results are still patchy, but they do outline some general trends. The survey gives some unemployment figures for doctors in all fields in Australia (2.3%), Canada (3.7%), Germany (3.2%), and the United States (2.9%). The survey also found that in Australia, 28.3% of women having a Ph.D. choose to work part-time versus 14.3% of men. In Germany, the number of women working part-time is exactly the same as in Australia — 28.3% — but the number of men is much smaller: 6%. The United States showed the lowest numbers of part-time workers, with 13.5% of women and 5.2% of men. Most employed Ph.D. graduates were in professional or managerial positions, but the underemployed percentage varied widely: 14.7% in Canada, 14.8% in Germany, 8.6% in Portugal, and 8.4% in the United States held positions below their level of qualification.

The full data can be found in the Eurostat report.