Factors influencing the employment of Australian PhD graduates

Denise Jackson*, Grant Michelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


It has long been argued in many Western countries that having a highly skilled workforce is crucial to innovation and national competitiveness. Ensuring the employment of the most highly educated members of a country's population is integral to helping achieve such economic outcomes. Therefore, the objective of this study is to identify the major factors that account for the initial full-time employment of Australian-trained PhD graduates. It draws on a national survey conducted in 2011 (n = 2761) and 2012 (n = 3181) of PhD graduates in Australia across all major disciplines four to six months after conferral of their degree. The findings reveal that previous work experience; attendance at a research-intensive university; completing one's degree off campus; part-time status; the use of certain job search strategies and access to research culture and networking opportunities; as well as certain demographic characteristics influence initial post-graduation job attainment. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1678
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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