06.03.2018 13:00

The PhD at Politecnico di Milano is a fruitful investment

Compared to graduate students, PhD holders boast higher starting remuneration and employment rates, and a greater number of indefinite duration contracts

PhD holders from Politecnico di Milano have been targeted in December 2017 by an employment survey that has involved more than 80% of those who obtained the qualification in 2015 and 2016, nearly six hundred persons. 

What emerges is a highly positive and not predictable picture. Far away are the times when a PhD was just the first step towards a university career. 

One year after the qualification, 94.7% of PhD holders are employed: slightly less than half of PhD holders (a data on the decline, they were slightly more than half at the time of the last survey) continue a profession in the research sector at the Politecnico and at international universities. Approximately 10% are independent contractors. The rest of PhD holders work in companies, among them 72.3% on contracts of indefinite duration (the latter data takes them twenty percentage points ahead of the already excellent 51% achieved by graduate students).

As pointer to the recognition dished out by the labour market, there is the average salary, about EUR 2.000 per month, some 35 % higher than for graduate students. A PhD is a clear investment in one’s future.

The labour field perceives in a PhD a resource for bringing innovation, a well-known trend in European countries where companies and institutions invest a lot in this qualification.

Suffice it to consider that at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) or at the RWTH Aachen University, the number of PhD students is approximately 6-7 times higher than at the Politecnico, a precious resource for the innovation of German business.

In Italy, we are discerning the first signs of change: the survey evinces a drop in the number of those who leave Italy for work purposes. 21.4% of Italian PhD holders work abroad, compared to 27.4% in 2013 – 2014. United States, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France are the countries were most of them find employment.

On the rise, conversely, are the foreign PhD holders who opt to stay in Italy: from 25.9% in the previous survey we jump to 39.1%, a sign of increasing attractiveness of our country.

There is still work to do to cover the gender gap. Though at the top of academic preparation, the skills of female PhD holders are not yet fully acknowledged. Their employment rate is in in fact 4.3% lower and their pay check 22% lighter.

PhD holders are generally quite satisfied with the PhD programme. Indeed, the results of the survey show us that more than 86% of those employed stated that the training acquired was suited to their jobs, and 74% deem the PhD necessary for the type of jobs they perform.