Employment and Unemployment
This chapter presents the employment status of science and engineering doctorates in 1995, describing the proportions who were employed full-time, employed part-time, or not employed (including those seeking employment, those retired, and all others not working). Those who held postdoctoral appointments were included as either full-time employed or part-time employed as appropriate.
- In 1995, 84 percent of science and engineering doctorates were employed full-time. By field of doctorate, full-time employment rates ranged from a high of 97 percent in computer sciences to a low of 81 percent in psychology (see Table 4).
- Just over 5 percent of the science and engineering doctorates were employed part-time. Part-time employment was highest for psychology doctorates (12 percent) and lowest for doctorates in computer sciences (1 percent).
- The remaining 11 percent of the science and engineering doctorates were not employed, the majority of whom (8 percent of the total population) were retired. Chemistry and agricultural/environmental sciences had the highest proportions retired, 11 percent each. In computer sciences, where 99 percent of the doctorates were under age 55, no one was retired.
Reasons for Not Working
- As previously mentioned, retirement was the status of the large majority of those not working and consequently was the most frequently named reason for not working (72 percent cited this reason). After retirement, the reason most frequently given was "suitable job not available" (10 percent), followed by "did not need or want to work" (9 percent) (see Table 5).
Reasons for Working Part-Time
- Of all those working part-time, 36 percent said they were doing so because they "did not need or want to work full-time." Among psychology doctorates (the group with the highest proportion employed part-time), 43 percent cited this reason for working part-time (see Table 6).
- The second most frequent reason, "retired or semi-retired," was cited by 33 percent of the science and engineering doctorates who held part-time employment. Approximately one-half of chemistry and physics/astronomy doctorates employed part-time cited this reason.
- Twenty-five percent of science and engineering doctorates employed part-time gave "family responsibilities" as a reason. This reason was most frequently cited by psychology doctorates (40 percent).
- The reason "suitable full-time job not available" was chosen by 22 percent of those part-time employed. This reason was cited most frequently by physics/ astronomy doctorates (35 percent).
When those who were retired and those who were not employed and not seeking work are removed from the data set, the residual is the labor force. In 1995 the size of the science and engineering labor force was 492,100 (compared with 542,500 in the total science and engineering population). The labor force is used as the base in unemployment rate calculations because it excludes those who are voluntarily not employed. The unemployment picture of science and engineering doctorates is examined in this section.
- In 1995, 1.5 percent of all science and engineering doctorates in the labor force were unemployed and looking for work. Chemistry doctorates, at 2.2 percent, had the highest unemployment rate, whereas computer sciences and social sciences had the lowest rates, 0.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively (see Table 7).
- By gender, there was no difference in the unemployment rate for science and engineering doctorates overall. Two fields, however, had notable differences in the rates by gender: physics/astronomy with female unemployment rates at 3.7 percent compared with men at 1.4 percent and engineering with rates for females at 4.7 percent compared with 1.6 percent for men.