PHD EMPLOYMENT DATA BOOK 2020

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PHD EMPLOYMENT - DATA BOOK 2020

DATA BOOK 2020

1


PHD EMPLOYMENT DATA BOOK 2020

FOREWORD 5

SURVEY METHODOLOGY 7

PHD EMPLOYMENT 8

Ph.D employment: 1-2 years after 10

University and research sector 12

Private sector

14

Sector comparison

16

FOCUS BY AREA 18

Architecture 20

Design

24

Engineering

28

TREND ANALYSIS 34

Employment rate and salary

In detail

A gender view

36

38

40

WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

Ph.D and MSc graduates: a comparison 44

42



For many years in Italy and abroad, the Ph.D degree was seen only as the main gateway to join academic

research, but the real picture is quickly evolving. The change is triggered by the increasing awareness of the

industrial companies regarding the key role that innovation and research play in every economical sector. In

parallel, the academic institutions have performed a deep rethinking of the doctoral careers. This process is

clearly expressed by the Seven Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training, stated in 2011 by EU European

Research Area: doctoral careers must strive for research excellence, should benefit from attractive institutional

environments, be open to interdisciplinary research, allow for exposure to industry and other relevant

employment sectors, ensure international networking, provide transferable skills training, and enforce a quality

assurance of the whole process.

To monitor the evolution of our own doctoral education, Politecnico di Milano has implemented an employment

survey that is conducted every other year since 2016. This Book provides a detailed summary of the 2019-

2020 survey, focused on the Ph.Ds who graduated at Politecnico di Milano in 2017 and 2018. In it, you will

find a number of interesting results. To name just a few: up to 97% of our graduates are employed, out of which

over 50% found their job already before defending their Ph.D thesis; moreover, 43% of them are employed

in the private sector. We’re also glad to observe that the gender gap (the difference between female and male

graduates’ first stipend) is progressively closing: in the last two years it has been reduced by the 25-40%,

depending on the research topic.

As Dean of the Ph.D School I am specifically satisfied to observe that the great majority of our graduates declare

that they would go through our program again. At the Politecnico di Milano we indeed believe in the Ph.D School

as the main place where future researchers and innovators are nurtured. Their development and careers are

important to us and, for this reason, we will monitor their employment outcomes even 5 years from the end of

their studies.

I wish to thank both the companies who have chosen to invest in hiring a young Ph.D graduate and the Ph.D

graduates themselves, for answering our survey so numerously and for being, in fact, agents of innovation and

important connectors between universities and companies. Finally, my warmest thanks go to our Career Service,

the Politecnico di Milano unit that provides a continuous bridge between our institution and the companies

working around and with us. The individual placement programme they offer to each and every Ph.D candidate at

Politecnico di Milano is at the basis of many of the positive placement outcomes of their Ph.D careers. Last but

not least, they took care of conducting the employment survey here presented, and produced this very useful

Book.

Paolo Biscari

Dean, Ph.D School

Politecnico di Milano

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5



SURVEY METHODOLOGY

Every two years Politecnico di Milano carries out an employment survey on Ph.D graduates respectively one

and two years after degree completion, in order to verify the effectiveness of their educational path in the

world of work and to address the right professional guidance purposes.

The present survey was conducted between the end of December 2019 and the beginning of January 2020

through mixed methodology (CAWI: online and CATI: phone). The Ph.Ds were asked to answer a multiple

-choice survey of about 20 questions.

Employement Survey on Ph.D

graduates 1-2 years after

degree completion

CAWI: online

CATI: by phone

20 QUESTION

SURVEY

ITALIAN

SAMPLE: PHD CLASS OF 2017/2018

INTERNATIONAL

455

Obtained their Ph.D in the two-year period

189

314

Answered the survey

94

69%

Response rate

50%

6

7



PHD EMPLOYMENT



PHD EMPLOYMENT: 1-2 YEARS AFTER

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

97% EMPLOYED*

*

Almost all Ph.Ds interviewed were employed within 1-2 years from degree

completion (97%) and over 50% were already working before the end of

the Ph.D program. The main job market is Italy, while 30% chose to go

abroad. Ph.Ds find their first employment in both the university sector

and the private sector (52% against 43%). 90% of the sample hold an

employment contract, while 10% are self-employed.

51%

WERE EMPLOYED BEFORE

DEGREE COMPLETION

90%

ARE EMPLOYEES

31% ABROAD

They go abroad:

ITALY

69%

WHERE DO

THEY WORK?

For a better salary 51%

For a lack of opportunities at home 48%

For better career prospects 44%

27%

FOUND A JOB IN LESS

THAN ONE MONTH

IN WHICH SECTOR?

PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND NON

PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

5%

52% 43%

* PERCENTAGE CALCULATED ON THE ACTIVE POPULATION (EMPLOYED + UNEMPLOYED

IN SEARCH OF A NEW OR FIRST EMPLOYMENT)

10

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

11

PRIVATE SECTOR



PHD EMPLOYMENT: UNIVERSITY AND RESEARCH SECTOR

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

52% 43%

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES PRIVATE SECTOR P.A.

5%

Politecnico di Milano is the main employer for those who work in universities and

research bodies (43%). Contracts in the university sector are less stable than the

private sector, although salaries reach 2,000 net euros per month. Satisfaction is

very high: 80% of Ph.Ds employed in universities and research institutes would enrol

in the program again; 92% say that their degree is necessary to perform their job.

39%

43%

WORK AT POLITECNICO

9%

80%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

RESEARCH /

POST-DOC GRANT

34%

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

PROJECT - BASED

18%

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

94%

FIXED-TERM

€2,006

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

PERMANENT

92%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

12

13



PHD EMPLOYMENT: PRIVATE SECTOR

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

52% 43%

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES PRIVATE SECTOR P.A.

5%

The private sector offers stable contracts (91% hired permanently) and good salaries

to new Ph.Ds (monthly 200 euros more than in Research and University sector).

They tend to find employment either in small companies (42%) or big multinationals

(42%). Ph.D graduates are satisfied with their studies (72%), although only 30%

declare that a Ph.D is necessary for their job.

COMPANY SIZE

* (N° EMPLOYEES)

42%

(1-250*)

16%

(251-1.000*)

42%

(+ 1.000*)

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

€2,201

91%

PERMANENT

9%

FIXED-TERM

APPRENTICESHIP

PROJECT - BASED

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

72%

32%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

87%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

14

15



PHD EMPLOYMENT: SECTOR COMPARISON

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

52%

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH

INSTITUTES

43%

PRIVATE SECTOR

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

39%

POST-DOC

RESEARCH /

GRANT

34%

FIXED

- TERM

91% PERMANENT

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

€2,006

€2,201

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO

THEIR PHD AGAIN

80%

72%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO

THEIR PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS

WITH THEIR STUDIES

94%

87%

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS

WITH THEIR STUDIES

HAVE A JOB THAT

REQUIRES A PHD

92%

32%

HAVE A JOB THAT

REQUIRES A PHD

16

17



FOCUS BY AREA

ARCHITECTURE

DESIGN

ENGINEERING



ARCHITECTURE

PHD COURSES

Architecture built environment and construction engineering

Architectural, urban and interior design

Preservation of the architectural heritage

Urban planning, design and policy



ARCHITECTURE: UNIVERSITY AND RESEARCH SECTOR

97% EMPLOYMENT

71%

19% 10%

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

Most Ph.Ds in the Architectural Area work in Universities or Research Bodies (of

which 40% at the Politecnico) in Italy (67%). Their contracts are not as stable and

salaries lower than the average of the total population interviewed in the present

survey. They are generally satisfied with their path: 67% would enrol in the

program again and 90% declare that a Ph.D is necessary for their work.

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

PRIVATE SECTOR

PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND NON

PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

40%

RESEARCH /

POST-DOC GRANT

37%

FIXED - TERM

67%

ITALY

33%

ABROAD

WHERE DO

THEY WORK?

67%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

87%

€1,693

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

90%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

SAMPLE FOR ARCHITECTURE: 62 people interviewed, of which 58 employed.

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23



DESIGN

PHD COURSES

Design



DESIGN: PRIVATE SECTOR

100% EMPLOYMENT

18%

73%

9%

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

The sample of people who obtained a Ph.D in Design is quite small. They mainly work

in Italy (87%) in the private sector (72%) with a very good contract (permanent

contract for 62%). 62% of the interviewed would do the Ph.D again, although their

post-graduate degree is often not required for their work and few (37%) state that

their job is consistent with their studies.

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

PRIVATE SECTOR

PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND NON

PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

62%

PERMANENT

87%

ITALY

13%

ABROAD

WHERE DO

THEY WORK?

62%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

37%

€1,625

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

12%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

SAMPLE FOR DESIGN: 15 people interviewed, of which 15 employed.

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27



ENGINEERING

PHD COURSES

Aerospace engineering

Bioengineering

Electrical engineering

Energy and nuclear science and technology

Environmental and infrastructure engineering

Industrial chemistry and chemical engineering

Information technology

Management engineering

Materials engineering

Mathematical models and methods in engineering

Mechanical engineering

Physics

Structural seismic and geotechnical engineering



ENGINEERING: UNIVERSITY AND RESEARCH SECTOR

97% EMPLOYMENT

50% 46% 4%

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

PRIVATE SECTOR

PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND NON

PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

97% of Ph.D graduates in engineering disciplines find employment, equally spread

in the university and research sector and in the private sector. In Universities and

Research Bodies, although contracts are less stable, Ph.Ds are very satisfied with

the professional outcome and studies. In the private sector contractual conditions

are better (permanent contract for 93%) and salaries are higher (183 euros more

per month).

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

38%

RESEARCH /

POST-DOC GRANT

34%

FIXED - TERM

68%

ITALY

32%

ABROAD

WHERE DO

THEY WORK?

82%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

95%

€2,073

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

92%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

SAMPLE FOR ENGINEERING: 331 people interviewed, of which 314 employed. 149 are employed in the university and research sector.

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31



ENGINEERING: PRIVATE SECTOR

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

97% EMPLOYMENT

50% 46% 4%

COMPANY SIZE

41%

(1-250*)

* (N° EMPLOYEES)

14%

(251-1.000*)

45%

(+ 1.000*)

UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

PRIVATE SECTOR

PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND NON

PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

TYPE OF

CONTRACT

93%

PERMANENT

68%

ITALY

32%

ABROAD

WHERE DO

THEY WORK?

74%

WOULD CHOOSE TO DO THEIR

PHD AGAIN

HAVE A JOB THAT FITS WITH

THEIR STUDIES

90%

€2,256

MONTHLY NET

SALARY

32%

HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES

A PHD

SAMPLE FOR ENGINEERING: 331 people interviewed, of which 314 employed. 135 are employed in the private sector.

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33



TREND ANALYSIS



TREND ANALYSIS: EMPLOYMENT RATE AND SALARY

For three consecutive surveys, the employment rate of Politecnico

Ph.D graduates has risen, gaining 5 percentage points since the first

survey in 2016 and reaching a record high of 97% Ph.Ds employed

within 1-2 years from degree completion. This very positive trend is

accompanied also by a slight salary increase (+62 euros). In the next

two pages, we can observe a closer comparison between the present

survey and the previous one: the number of employees has risen

compared to those who are self-employed (+10 points), permanent

contracts are much more common in the private sector (+19 points),

while satisfaction has slightly decreased. Finally, the gender gap is

shrinking: the employment rates of men and women are equal in the

present survey. Differences in salaries remain, although the gender pay

gap has narrowed significantly for all disciplines.

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

2016 2018 2020

Ph.D 13/14

92%

Ph.D 15/16

95%

Ph.D 17/18

97%

€1,990

€1,992

€2,052

% EMPLOYMENT RATE € MONTHLY NET SALARY

36

37



TREND ANALYSIS: IN DETAIL

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

2018 VS

2020

2018 VS

2020

95%

EMPLOYMENT

97%

72%

WORK IN ITALY

69%

48%

Universities and

Research institutes

52%

80%

EMPLOYEES

90%

44%

Private sector

43%

PERMANENT CONTRACT

72% IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR 91%

8%

Public authorities and Non

Profit organizations

5%

€1,992

MONTHLY NET

SALARY €2,052

38

39



TREND ANALYSIS: A GENDER VIEW

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

2018

ARCHITECTURE DESIGN ENGINEERING

EMPLOYMENT

ARCHITECTURE DESIGN ENGINEERING

2020

EMPLOYMENT

M

95%

100%

96%

96%

100%*

96%

M

F

82%

82%

99%

97%

100%

97%

F

MONTHLY NET SALARY

MONTHLY NET SALARY

M

€1,853

€1,750

€2,169

€1,946

€1,000*

€2,177

M

F

€1,396

€1,611

€1,916

€1,592

€1,658

€2,018

F

40

* Only 3 respondents who represent 50% of the initial target. The sample is too small for this data to be considered representative.

41



WHO ARE THE PHD

GRADUATES ?



PHD AND MSC GRADUATES: A COMPARISON

PHD EMPLOYMENT FOCUS BY AREA TREND ANALYSIS

WHO ARE THE PHD GRADUATES?

644

Ph.D GRADUATES IN 2017 - 2018 MASTER OF SCIENCE GRADUATES IN 2017*

3,923

EMPLOYMENT

RATE 97%

93%

EMPLOYMENT

RATE

PERMANENT CONTRACT

IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR 91%

53%

PERMANENT CONTRACT

IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR

MONTHLY NET

MONTHLY NET

67% 33% SALARY

64% 36%

SALARY €2,052 €1,516

41,5% INTERNATIONAL

44

45

* Data relative to Italian

graduates only



2020 Employment Survey on Ph.Ds who graduated at Politecnico di Milano in 2017 and 2018. The survey is carried out by the

Career Service in collaboration with the Statistical Analysis, Evaluation and Accreditation Support Office and the Alumni Association

of Politecnico di Milano.



April 2020

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