Main results from the 2019 PhD Graduation Report

Employment after a PhD programme at DTU

  • Currently 96 % are employed, whereas 2 % is self-employed. The rest is enrolled in full-time education or unemployed.
  • 57% of the employed graduates are working in the private sector, and 30% are employed at a university or a similar research institution.
  • Many of the employed graduates (52%) work in large companies with more than 1,000 employees, and at workplaces in the Capital Region of Denmark.
  • The majority of graduates (63%) are occupied with research assignments.
  • In general, most graduates give priority to meeting professional challenges in their work, but a suitable work-life balance, and a good mental working environment is also important qualities for most of them.

Transition to the labour market

  • The great majority make a smooth transition from a PhD programme to the labour market.
  • 68% have already found jobs before they complete their PhD programme.
  • The first job is typically outside the university and mostly in the private or public sector. 45% of the graduates find their first job at a university, whereas the rest (55%) find their first job elsewhere (in the private, public or other sector).
  • Nearly half of the graduates (49%) got their first job through their professional network.
  • Many believe that the general PhD competencies, they have acquired, have played an important part in their first employment.
  • The companies who recruit PhDs highlight collaboration, less flexibility and deadlines as some of the challenges in transition to labour market. However, the challenges does not outweigh the gains of hiring PhDs.
  • The PhDs are appreciated for their subject matter expertise within the particular field or because of their method competences. Beyond this, also personal competences tend to matter.

The match between required and acquired competencies

  • The great majority of graduates feel well prepared for the labour market.
  • The graduates are especially pointing to deep theoretical knowledge, strong analytical competencies and research in general as areas where they have acquired superior competencies.
  • Recruiting companies generally believe that the competencies they need are matched by the PhD graduates’ profiles
  • Graduates working in universities find research competencies significantly more relevant for their career compared to graduates working in other sectors of the labour market. This is consistent with the fact that PhD graduates employed at universities perform tasks more similar to what they did during their PhD.
  • Slightly more than half of the graduates (55%) believe that a PhD was required for their first job after submitting their thesis.

Collaboration with trade and industry

  • Almost half of the graduates (45%) have collaborated with trade or industry in connection with their PhD programme.
  • Collaboration is one of the areas where a significant number of graduates find possibilities for developing their PhD programme to equip them better for employment in trade and industry
  • The recruiting companies generally find that collaboration on a PhD project brings new development and knowledge to the company, enabling it to go in depth in a field for which there would not otherwise be resources or funds.

Research visits abroad

  • More than half the graduates (59%) have studied abroad or conducted research at a different university during their PhD programme.
  • 74 % state that they have developed an international network in connection with their PhD programme.The recruiting companies also find that research visits abroad contribute positively to the graduates’ development, especially maturity and understanding of other cultures. Furthermore, the recruiting companies state that a visit can provide new and relevant knowledge for the graduates.
  • Thus, visits abroad have a positive effect on most recruiters, but it is not seen as a crucial factor for employment

Supplementary and continuing education

  • 19% of the PhD graduates have either completed or are currently enrolled in a continuing education course.
  • 73% believe that continuing education is ‘highly important’ or ‘to some extent important’ to enable them to maintain their value on the labour market.