Email Print Share

News Release 14-121

Unemployment for doctoral scientists and engineers below national average in 2013

An estimated 837,900 individuals in the United States held SEH research doctoral degrees in 2013

Woman scientist.

Report finds women continue to represent a growing share of doctorate holders.

September 12, 2014

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) report says the 2013 unemployment rate for individuals with research doctoral degrees in science, engineering and health (SEH) fields was one-third the rate for the general population aged 25 and older--2.1 percent versus 6.3 percent.

According to the report, an estimated 837,900 individuals in the United States held SEH research doctoral degrees in 2013, and nearly 735,900 of them were in the labor force; this includes those employed full time or part time and unemployed individuals actively seeking work.

Statistics show that 25.5 percent of SEH doctoral degree holders in the labor force held a doctorate in the biological, agricultural or environmental life sciences; 18.5 percent held doctorates in engineering; 17.1 percent in physical sciences; 14.5 percent in psychology; 12.3 percent in social sciences; 4.6 percent in health; 4.5 percent in mathematics and statistics and 3 percent in computer and information sciences.

Meanwhile, women continue to represent a growing share of doctorate holders, rising from 30.2 percent in 2008 to 32.9 percent in 2013. The labor force participation rate among SEH doctorate holders was 89.1 percent for women in 2013, compared with 87.2 percent for men. Female SEH doctorate holders were less likely than their male counterparts to be employed full time in 2013 (72.7 percent of women, 77.5 percent of men) and more likely not to be seeking work (3.7 percent of women, 0.8 percent of men).

For more information on this report, please visit NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

Program Contacts
Steven Proudfoot, NSF, (703) 292-4434, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website:
NSF News:
For News Media:
Awards database:

Follow us on social
Twitter: and