Studies of employment often focus on general labour market developments or the employment status of vulnerable groups concentrated at the lower end of the labour market. In contrast, the employment of highly educated individuals, in particular PhD recipients, has received less empirical attention. This article contributes to this area using data from a web survey carried out among respondents at four universities in the Netherlands. Dutch doctoral recipients have an above-average employment rate of 86 per cent. In addition, when looking at variables related to academic and non-academic employment, demographic variables, such as age and children living in the household, as well as publications submitted and accepted, are more closely related to contract type (permanent versus temporary) than factors such as PhD supervision and labour market preparation. Gender is a particularly important variable related to employment status, with male doctoral candidates more likely to be employed outside academia. We conclude with recommendations for PhD candidates, their supervisors and universities.

Van de Schoot, R., Yerkes, M., & Sonneveld, H. (2012). The employment status of doctoral recipients: An exploratory study in the Netherlands. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 7, 331-348. Retrieved from

Mara Yerkes
Assistant Professor Comparative Social Policy & Intervention Studies
Her research interests include comparative welfare state research, comparative social policy, industrial relations and the employment relationship, the sociology of gender and sexuality, and social inequality.
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Hans Sonneveld