Older Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: Selected Labor Force Characteristics

Buyout Offers


Buyout offers have been received by many doctoral scientists and engineers across the age spectrum at some point in their careers (figure 2).[16] For those 60 or older, the percentage of employed doctoral scientists and engineers receiving buyout offers (28 percent) did not differ greatly from those who were "not employed" (32 percent), that is, either "unemployed" or "not in the labor force." However, some 44 percent of employed scientists and engineers receiving buyout offers accepted them, compared with 89 percent of those who were not employed.

Figure 2. Percentage of doctoral scientists and engineers who received buyout offers in their careers by age: 1997
Figure 2 source dataExcel

The percentage of doctoral scientists and engineers ever having received a buyout offer was 9 percent or less for groups aged 54 or younger, with most of these offers being rejected. For those aged 55-59, 19 percent had received a buyout offer and 31 percent of those receiving an offer had accepted it. A crossover point—at which half of those receiving an offer accepted it—was reached for the group aged 60-64. About one-third of doctoral scientists and engineers aged 65-69 had received a buyout offer and 72 percent accepted.

For employed doctoral scientists and engineers 60 or older who ever received a buyout offer, those currently in industry were considerably more likely to have accepted (67 percent) than those in education (36 percent) or government (22 percent) (table 6). It should be kept in mind that reported buyouts may be cumulative and someone who responds within a given age group and employment sector may have received a buyout offer when they were previously in a younger age group and working in different employment sector.

Table 6. Buyout offers to scientists and engineers 60 to 75 years of age by employment status, employment sector, and highest degree level: 1997
Table 6 source dataExcel

For all (employed and not-employed) scientists and engineers 60 or older, a somewhat higher percentage of those with doctoral degrees (30 percent) had received a buyout offer sometime during their careers than those whose highest degree were bachelor's (23 percent) or master's (24 percent) degrees. However, the percentage of those in this age group receiving buyout offers that actually accepted the offers was lower for scientists and engineers with doctorates (65 percent) than it was for those whose highest degree was a master's (78 percent) or bachelor's (80 percent) degree.


Footnotes

[16] The survey question was as follows: "Have you ever been offered a buyout or what is called "early retirement"—that is, a cash settlement to induce employees to voluntarily give up a job?"


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