Cheer up new PhDs, the jobs are out there

An ANU/CSIRO team used natural language processing machine-learning (“The Machine”) to analyse 29 000 job advertisements. They discovered hidden demand for “highly skilled researchers” the sort of people who have PhDs. “There is a large ‘hidden job market’ for PhD graduates in the Australian workforce,” they conclude.

Their analysis, reveals demand for research skills, “particularly in industries traditionally assumed to have low demand for PhD graduates, such as manufacturing, transport, logistics, marketing and communication. In addition, other industry sectors are potentially ready to embrace more graduates with research skills, echoing the thinking of the innovation agenda.”

But there is more to the project than cheer for PhD completers contemplating a life of post docs and casual jobs. The team suggests using their findings to “inform new strategic initiatives, such (as) targeting industry PhD scholarships by showing the value of adding research skill sets to a prior professional knowledge base.

“The so called ‘digital disruption’ trend is likely to be coupled with a higher demand for skilled knowledge workers, including those with research skills. Using The Machine we can start to explore whether the effects of digital disruption are starting to be felt more in some industries than others. For example, somewhat surprisingly, “marketing and communications” showed an even higher demand for research skills than “science and technology” in the non-academic job market.”

Inger Mewburn, Will Grant and Stephanie Kizimchuk (ANU), Hanna Suominen and Travis Simon (Data61, CSIRO) Tracking trends in industry demand for Australia’s advanced research workforce, hhere.



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