Over half of Australian PhD students are planning to work in industry according to Advancing Australia’s Knowledge Economy – Who are the top PhD Employers?  released today by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute(AMSI) and CSIRO Data61’s student-employer matching platform, Ribit.net.

This trend comes as the number of PhD graduations overtakes job growth in the higher education and research sectors.

“PhD completions have risen from 4000 to 10,000 annually since 2001 while industry demand is growing for specialist research capability,” says AMSI Policy Officer, Dr Maaike Wienk.

Health and medical services and technology—both private and public sector—are prominent in all employer lists as today’s report reveals Australia’s top PhD employers in business, government and the non-profit sectors.

Data61’s Professor Paul McCarthy says the report shows the scope of roles for PhDs is increasingly broad with some of Australia’s most globally competitive firms looking to recruit people from a wide range of disciplines.

“There are significant opportunities ahead for PhDs within young, global start-ups and innovative Australian employers like Canva, Seeing Machines and SafetyCulture,” says Professor McCarthy.

While many of Australia’s top PhD employers align to existing growth sectors such as medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, advanced manufacturing and mining technologies, demand is  growing in emerging industries.

“Our project also unearthed environmental goods and services and media services and technology as emerging sectors with high-growth firms employing PhD graduates,” says Professor McCarthy.

This report shows both big industry and small to medium employers are looking for quantitative, analytical and research expertise. One of the challenges for PhDs is the need to package their expertise with workplace skills such as communication, teamwork and stakeholder management.

“For us this confirms the importance of preparing PhDs for industry opportunities. Pathways such as AMSI’s APR.Intern program put industry opportunities in reach for PhD students, simultaneously linking industry to the skills they need,” says Professor Brown.

Read the full report here.


Media Contact:

Jo Piltz
E: media@amsi.org.au
P: 03 9035 8237

For Interview:

  • Professor Tim Brown, AMSI Director
  • Dr Maaike Wienk, AMSI Policy Officer
  • Professor Paul McCarthy, Data 61
  • Liz Jakubowski, Director, ribit.net