Is a PhD a barrier to employment?
We tend to think that the higher your qualification the better you will be paid and the higher the prospects are of you getting a job…but that’s not the reality.
According to a research study that looked at the employability of PhD graduates in corporate South Africa, many postgraduates are revealed to be struggling to find fair employment. The study, which was conducted by postdoctoral research at the University of Pretoria revealed that there is low PhD recruitment in the South African Corporate environment.
Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka, a postgraduate fellow at the University of Pretoria, elaborated her findings when she presented her work in a presentation titled PhD Employability in Corporate South Africa at the Durban University of Technology’s Hotel School at Ritson Campus on Thursday. The presentation included interluding speeches from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sibusiso Moyo and PhD researcher Thobela Conco.
In her presentation, Malka detailed the findings from the study and gave a background on the research, which is made up of two studies: one that was conducted in 2014 and a follow-up study that was conducted in 2017. Both studies looked at how graduates are absorbed into the cooperate sector.
“5 years of research, 2 research studies, 14 of our leading universities across the country, addressing 350 international as well as local leading corporations. Over 1.5 million employees, showed that there are only 0,7% PhDs in corporate South Africa,” she explained.
Another finding that came up during the study, according to Malka, was that there are numerous factors that doctoral graduates are confronted with when seeking employment, which is mostly myths from a cooperate point of view such as:
- The belief that doctoral graduates will not stay with the company for long
- Remuneration, a worry that doctoral holders will demand a high salary,
- Doctoral graduates are often rejected by employers because they are said to be ‘overqualified’ and;
- Hierarchy issues, among other factors
A PhD is one of the highest academic qualification one can achieve. As a country, South Africa values PhDs. The South African National Development Plan 2030 aims to produce more than 100 doctoral graduates per million in 11 years. But after revelations from the study, one can’t help but wonder who would have thought that having a Ph.D. would be a barrier to employment?