If job prospects are so bad for PhDs, why is the unemployment rate so low?

22 Nov

Answer by Hemang Shah:

PhD is a very different experience than most educational programs. You don&;t just complete a bunch of courses and get a PhD awarded. This program specifically calls for taking on problems and subjects that no one has touched before. In other words, PhD students have to innovate.

In trying to find a problem to solve, a PhD student typically undertakes an intense literature search study. Once reams of paper have been analyzed (not just read), the student finds a niche, a hole, an opportunity to advance his chosen field of study.

A PhD student has to perform independent research. It requires spending endless hours in the lab or running simulations. It requires challenging the status quo so that your hypothesis can be proved. If proven otherwise, you have to eat humble pie and adapt.

A PhD student also has to publish the key findings at conferences and in journal publications. It requires presenting your unique work to the best in your field, sometimes in packed rooms. Talk about developing excellent communication skills!

A PhD student is also groomed to be a teacher. Not only do you have to know the subject, you have to know it well enough to teach it to the next generation students. They will challenge you, question you with their curiosity. The result: you become much more knowledgable in those topics and certainly a better teacher.

 Completing a PhD also means that they can stick out when the going is tough and have a strong finish. I could go on but the gist is that these skills take time to develop. Even if a PhD grad cannot find a job of his/her liking, they have developed the mindset and the persistence to do well in other areas.

If job prospects are so bad for PhDs, why is the unemployment rate so low?

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