The Nonacademic Careers of STEM Ph.D. Holders
Most students enter into science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) Ph.D. programs planning to work in academia, but many STEM Ph.D. holders eventually seek nonacademic positions. There are many reasons for this decision, including changing research interests or the appeal of nonacademic work settings, location or job benefits. This issue brief explores gender and racial differences of STEM Ph.D. holders in nonacademic careers. The primary research questions are as follows:
- How do nonacademic career choices and work activities differ by gender and race/ethnicity?
- How does the proportion of nonacademic STEM Ph.D. holders working outside of STEM fields differ by gender and race/ethnicity?
Key findings include the following:
- Approximately half of Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM Ph.D. holders and Black and Hispanic male STEM Ph.D. holders were in nonacademic careers, whereas two thirds of Asian female STEM Ph.D. holders and almost three fourths of Asian male STEM Ph.D. holders were in nonacademic careers.
- Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM Ph.D. holders were more likely to work in government and less likely to work in private, for-profit organizations compared with Asian females and males of all racial/ethnic groups.
- Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM Ph.D. holders were more likely to work outside of STEM compared with other groups.