Surveys of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers
NSF 95-304

Surveys of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers

In 1991, the latest year of available data, there were approximately 437,200 doctoral scientists and engineers employed in the United States (table B-18). This total represented a 27 percent increase over the 344,000 reported for 1981. Employment of scientists with doctorates out numbered doctoral engineers by 5 to 1 in 1991, 367,400 and 69,800, respectively.

Many of these doctorate holders reported R&D as their primary work activity. Specifically, basic research accounted for 14 percent of the 1991 work total; applied research accounted for 16 percent; development, 6 percent; and R&D management, 8 percent. Teaching accounted for 23 percent of their primary work activities; the remaining 34 percent was distributed among non R&D management, consulting, production, and other activities.

As a percentage of the individual totals, scientists (16 percent) were more likely to be engaged in basic research activities than were engineers (5 percent), and engineers (39 percent) were more often employed in applied research and development than were scientists (19 percent). Engineers also more often reported being employed in R&D management (13 percent) than did scientists (7 percent). Overall, a relatively larger share (57 percent) of doctoral engineers reported R&D or R&D management as their primary work activity than did doctorate holding scientists (41 percent) (chart 15).

Chart 15

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