Last updated: 3 July 2019
Latest data | CDH project background | Related OECD indicators and analysis | Technical guidelines and earlier results
Why track the careers of doctorate holders (CDH)?
Human resources are key to the generation of ideas and their diffusion. Doctorate holders are of particular relevance to research and innovation because of the deep field-specific knowledge and advanced training in the quantitative and qualitative analytical skills necessary to push knowledge beyond its current boundaries. Doctoral programmes exist in both academic and professional fields and usually require the submission and defence of a thesis, dissertation or equivalent written work of publishable quality that represents an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the respective field(s) of study.
Share of doctorate holders in the population, 2017
25-64 year olds
Note: *Participating in the Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance exercise 2017/2018.
Source: Adapted from OECD Education Statistics (2018). StatLink: https://doi.org/10.1787/888933941538
The 2017 CDH database is the outcome of collaboration between the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation and the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. A joint data collection last took place in Q2-Q3 2017, targeting a core set of indicators on doctorate holders present in both Labour Force Surveys ad hoc CDH surveys ("CDH light").
The compressed file database available for download (.zip) comprises:
The distribution of ICT doctorates across industries
As a percentage of all doctorates with a degree in ICT or any field
Note: Estimates based on data for BEL, BRA, CAN, CHE, DEU, FIN, GBR and NLD.
Source: OECD calculations based on OECD data collection on Careers of Doctorate Holders 2017 (database)
Background and history of the CDH project
In 2004, the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI), along with other international organisations and the support of member countries and partners, set out to develop internationally comparable indicators on the careers and mobility of doctorate holders. Based on national experiences, an expert group with country representatives and international organisations was formed to develop the technical components of the project and promote consistent data compilation at national level.
Since then, the Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH) initiative has sought to promote the implementation of a horizontal survey instrument targeting the full population of doctorate holders, rather than specific, recent cohorts, as well as covering all institutional sectors of employment, in order to map research skills use economy wide as opposed to focusing on academic careers only. This instrument has sought to address challenges found in other sources (e.g. qualification attainment misreporting, timeliness in Census data and exhaustiveness in Labour Force surveys). Adoption is, however, limited and results have to be interpreted with caution as data submitted by countries are based on a combination of multiple data sources.
Where to find OECD indicators and analysis relevant to CDH
The CDH work is currently under review by the OECD, pending ongoing resource prioritisation. Data and indicators on CDH can be retrieved from multiple OECD data sources:
Technical guidelines for CDH and earlier CDH project results
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