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International mobility after the PhD: exploring the demographics and early labour market outcomes of UK doctoral graduates

Wednesday 31 May 2023, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Dr Sally Hancock, Centre for Research on Education and Social Justice and Dr Alice Dias Lopes, University of Edinburgh

The number of PhDs awarded by universities has risen substantially in recent decades. Academic employment opportunities have not similarly expanded, meaning that doctoral graduates increasingly undertake non-academic careers. This transformation has been accompanied by a growing body of research exploring the diversification of doctoral career pathways. Studies have examined the dynamics of national labour markets and mobility across sectors; but evidence on international mobility among doctoral graduates is limited. Our talk explores the international mobility of doctoral graduates who obtained their PhD from a UK university over the last decade (n= 33,050). We consider whether mobility a) differs by graduates’ characteristics and b) is associated with different labour market outcomes. Our findings show that the majority of doctoral graduates remain in the UK. Nevertheless, graduates with a PhD from Oxford and Cambridge are significantly more likely to be mobile. We find some indication that graduates who were mobile beyond the UK had better labour market outcomes; including a higher median salary and greater scientific and research-related employment. Moreover, our findings suggest that outbound mobility might be a means to stay in research through postdoctoral contracts.

Location: via Zoom