The doctorate degree, or PhD, is the highest qualification included in the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED, level 8 in the ISCED 2011). It is also unique because it bridges education with scientific research and innovation. Although the number of professional doctorates is increasing, in most cases they are qualifications acquired after several years of research leading to an original contribution to the scientific evidence base. The qualification rewards deep knowledge of a specific field of research and mastery of research methodologies. It acknowledges the doctorate holder as a member of the scientific community and grants access to academia.
The data provided in the EDIF brief show that the employment opportunities for doctorate degree holders, outside research institutions, are very good. On average across OECD countries, the employment rate for PhDs reaches 91%, compared with 85% for bachelor’s and master’s degree holders. And, even more interesting, their employment rates in the private sector and government agencies are very significant in a number of countries. No longer are doctorate degrees simply entry tickets to the guild of university professors. Society at large increasingly benefits from the research skills and experience that these people have acquired.