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Principal Job


Employment Sector top

In 1995, 49 percent of science and engineering doctorates were working in educational institutions, primarily 4-year colleges and universities. Another 30 percent were employed in private for-profit companies and 6 percent were self-employed. Local, state, and federal governments employed 10 percent of science and engineering doctorates and not-for-profit organizations accounted for 5 percent (see Table 8).

Figure 4. Employed science and engineering Ph.D.s by sector of employment and field, 1995.

Occupation top

Occupation[2] was defined on the survey as the "kind of work you were doing on your principal job held during the week of April 15, 1995." Thirty-eight percent of science and engineering doctorates were working as scientists (including social scientists and psychologists), 28 percent were postsecondary teachers of science or engineering, 13 percent were top/mid-level managers, and 9 percent were engineers. These occupations were distributed differently within employment sectors and by years since doctorate (see Tables 9 and 10).

Retention and Mobility top

In this report, the percentage of employed individuals with degrees in a particular field that were also working as practitioners or postsecondary teachers in that specialty is called the "retention rate" of the field.

Figure 5. Retention in field of science and engineering Ph.D.s, by field of doctorate, 1995.

Mobility between science and engineering fields was evident among certain groups of doctorates.

Primary Work Activity top

As distinguished from occupation, primary work activity was defined as the activity on which the most hours were spent during a typical week on the job. In 1995, 22 percent of science and engineering doctorates listed teaching as their primary work activity. Applied research was listed by 20 percent and basic research by 14 percent. These activities were followed in frequency by professional services and managing/ supervising, each at 12 percent, and development/design at 7 percent (see Table 12).

Figure 6. Employed science and engineering Ph.D.s, by primary work activity and field, 1995.

Salary top

In 1995 the median salary for science and engineering Ph.D.s was $60,200. (Median annual salaries were computed for full-time employed individuals, including postdoctoral appointees.)

Figure 7. Median annual salaries of science and engineering Ph.D.s, by field and gender, 1995.

Government Support Status top

In 1995, 28 percent of employed science and engineering doctorates received support from the federal government[3] in the form of contracts or grants (see Table 16).

Relationship of Principal Job to Doctoral Degree top

Science and engineering doctorates were asked about the relationship between their principal job and their doctoral field as one measure of the link between education and careers. Overall, 68 percent of science and engineering doctorates indicated that their jobs were closely related to their doctoral degrees, 24 percent said their jobs were somewhat related, and 8 percent said their jobs were not related to their degrees (see Table 19).

Figure 8. Science and Engineering Ph.D.s, by relationship of job to doctoral field, 1995.

Focus on Academe top

The following is a more detailed look at the 44 percent of employed science and engineering doctorates who were working in academe in 1995, excluding those on postdoctoral appointments.[4] (Academe includes 2-year and 4-year colleges, universities, medical schools, university-affiliated research institutes, and "other" educational institutions. It does not include elementary, middle, or secondary schools.) This section examines the rank and tenure status of scientists and engineers, how quickly they moved through the ranks, and whether this progress differed by field or gender.

Academic Rank top

In 1995, 38 percent of science and engineering Ph.D.s employed in academe were full professors, 24 percent were associate professors, 20 percent were assistant professors, and 3 percent were instructors or lecturers. The remaining doctorates employed in academe were adjunct faculty members (2 percent), held some other position (2 percent), or responded that rank was not applicable to their position or at their institution (12 percent) (see Table 21).

Figure 9. Faculty status of academically employed science and engineering Ph.D.s, by field, 1995.

Tenure top

In 1995, 56 percent of science and engineering doctorates employed in academe were tenured, 18 percent were on a tenure track, and 9 percent were not on a tenure track. Of the rest, 5 percent were at institutions without a tenure system and 13 percent were in positions to which tenure did not apply (see Table 23). As in the previous section on faculty rank, those on postdoctoral appointments were excluded from the analysis in this section.

Figure 10. Proportion of academically employed science and engineering Ph.D.s with tenure, by time since Ph.D. and gender, 1995.


Footnotes

[2] See Appendix E for the occupation codes and broad groupings.

[3] Federal employees were instructed to answer "No" to this question and are therefore excluded from the proportions shown receiving support.

[4] Those doctorates holding postdoctoral appointments in April 1995 in the academic sector, as well as those on postdoctoral appointments in other sectors, are examined in more detail in Chapter 4.


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