Better data may reveal stronger prospects than thought for Canada’s PhDs

December 9, 2015

The prospects for tenure-track employment facing Canada’s PhD graduates may not be nearly as dire as some might believe, writes Richard Wiggers of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Drawing on a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada, Wiggers argues that the claim that only 18.6% of PhD graduates find tenure-track employment is based on potentially misleading data. Because the data comes from the 2011 national census, it includes all immigrants who are into the country with a PhD as part of the overall group of PhD holders not employed in a tenure-track position. For this reason, Wiggers argues, we need to track PhD graduates through their “online footprint” to gain a more accurate sense of how many new PhD graduates find tenure-track employment in their field. Wiggers concludes by suggesting that the results of such a study might be much more encouraging than the numbers currently circulating on the subject. HEQCO