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o
Ph.D. Manpower:
Employment Demand, and Supply
1972-85
U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
1975
Bulletin 1860




United. States. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Doctoral manpower.
(Bulletin - U.S.„Bureau of Labor Statistics)
"Prepared in the Bureau’s Division of Manpower and.
Occupational Outlook by Elinor W. Abramson under the
general direction of Michael F. Crowley."
Supt. of Docs, no.: L 2.3:i860
1. College graduates— Employment— United States.
2. Labor supply— United States. 3- Doctor of philos­
ophy degree. I. Abramson, Elinor W. II. Crowley,
Michael F. III. Title.’ IV. Series: United States.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bulletin.
HD6278.U5U54 1975
331.l ’
l
75-619118




Ph.D Manpower:
Employment Demand, and Supply
1972-85
U.S. Department of Labor
John T. Dunlop, Secretary
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Julius Shiskin, Commissioner
1975
Bulletin 1860

For sale by the S u p e rin ten d e n t of D ocum ents, U.S. G overnm ent P rinting O ffice, W ashington, D.C. 20402
G P O B ookstores, or BLS R egional O ffices listed on inside back cover. Price 75 cents
M ak e checks payable to S uperinten dent of D ocum ents
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C atalog N u m b er L2.3:1860







Preface
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has as one of its major tasks the development
and dissemination of information on future manpower requirements and supply.
This bulletin is part of a series relating to the Bureau’s projections of economic
and manpower data to 1985. Other publications include:
The Structure of the U.S. Economy in 1980 and 1985, BLS Bulletin 1831
(1975).
Occupational Manpower and Training Needs, Revised 1974, BLS Bulletin 1824
(1975).
“Detours: The Road Ahead for College Graduates,” Occupational Outlook Quarter­
ly, Summer 1974, Vol. 18, No. 2.
The U.S. Economy in 1985: A Summary of BLS Projections, BLS Bulletin 1809
(1974). Reprint of 4 articles from the Monthly Labor Review of December 1973.
“Education of Workers: Projections to 1990,” Monthly Labor Review, November
1973.
This bulletin was prepared in the Bureau’s Division of Manpower and Occu­
pational Outlook by Elinor W. Abramson under the general direction of
Michael F. Crowley.




in




Contents
Highlights................................................................................................................................................................

1

Introduction............................................................................................................................................................. 4
Chapter I. Current employment.......................................................................................................................... 5
Employers......................................................................................................................................................... 5
Primary work activity..................................................................................................................................... 7
Chapter II. Projected requirements andsupply.................................................................................................. 9
Requirements.................................................................................................................................................... 9
Factors affecting requirements.............................................................................................................. 10
Projected requirements.......................................................................................................................... 10
Job openings..........................................................................................................................................13
Alternative projections...................................................................................................................... ...13
Supply................................................................................................................................................................ 14
Supply-demand balance.................................................................................................................................. 15
Chapter III.

Implications..................................................................................................................................... 16

Text tables:
1. Employment of Ph. D .’s, by field and employer, 1972 ............................................................................. 5
2. Percent distribution of Ph. D .’s, for each employer by field, 1972 ........................................................ 6
3. Employment of Ph. D .’s, by employer and primary work activity, 1972............................................... 6
4. Percent distribution of Ph. D .’s, for each work activity by employer,1972 ............................................ 7
5. Employment of Ph. D .’s, by field and primary work activity, 1972....................................................... 7
6. Projected requirements for Ph. D .’s, by employer, 1985 .......................................................................... 11
7. Projected requirements for Ph. D .’s, by field, 1985.................................................................................... 11
8. Projected requirements for Ph. D .’s, by field and employer, 1985........................................................... 12
9. Source ofdemand for Ph. D .’s, 1972-85 .................................................................................................... 13
10. Estimated supply of new Ph. D .’s, 1972-85 ................................................................................................ 14
11. Supply and demand, 1985 ............................................................................................................................ 14
Appendix: Data sources and statistical methods........................... .................................................................. . 18
Appendix tables:
A-l. Current employment of Ph. D .’s, 1972................................................................................................. 18
A-2. Estimated
age distribution of Ph. D .’s, 1972 ........................................................................ 20
A-3. Estimated
employment of Ph. D .’s, by field, 1966-72............................................................ 20
A-4. Percent distribution of Ph. D .’semployed by educational institutions, 1966-72............................... 20
A-5.
Estimated
age distribution of Ph. D .’s, 1985.......................................................................... 20
A-6.
Estimated
supply of new Ph. D .’s, 1972-85............................................................................. 21







H IG H L IG H T S
Ph.D. employment in 1972
A b o u t o ne-half w ere in engineering
and natural science.

An estimated 335,000 Ph.D.’s
were employed in 1972.

Arts and
hum anities,

A b o u t seven-tenths w o rked in
educational institutions.

O ther fields, 2.0%

Educational institutions,
70.5%




O ther, 2.9%

Business
and com m erce,
1 .6 %

N o nprofit
organizations, 3.8%
Governm ent,

8. 2%
Industry
and business,
14.6%

A b o u t o n e-h alf taught m ost
o f the tim e.

O ther, 3.2%
Professional
services, 5.6%

A dm inistration, 8.0%

D
H IG H L IG H T S -C o n tin u e d
Ph.D. employment grow th
Percent increase in em ploym en t, 19 7 2 -8 5

Fro m 1 9 7 2 to 1 9 8 5 , dem and fo r
Ph.D .'s w ill grow nearly tw ice as
fast as fo r all w orkers, b ut m ore
slow ly than fo r college graduates
as a w hole. By 1 9 8 5 , e m p lo y ­
m ent requirem ents fo r Ph.D .'s
w ill increase to 4 7 5 ,0 0 0 , if trends
continue in th e use of Ph.D .'s
relative to o ther w orkers in the
same occupation.

25

50

75

Field o f Ph.D .

Life science

J

Mathem atics |
Social science
and psychology

Business and com m erce, th e slow ­
est growing field , w ill be up 18
percent; engineering, th e fastest
growing, 8 0 percent.

Psychology

Arts and I--------------------hum anities I____________
Education [
Business and
commerce
A ll other fields




■

H IG H L IG H T S -C o n tin u e d
Ph.D. openings and supply, 1972-85

Num ber (in thousands)

100

200

T o ta l openings over th e 1 9 7 2 -8 5
period fo r gro w th and fo r re­
placem ent w ill num ber about
1 8 7 ,0 0 0 . O n th e o th er hand, if
trends in the aw arding o f Ph.D .
degrees co n tin u e as in the past
decade, th e supply o f new doc­
torates w ill num ber 5 8 0 ,0 0 0 .

300

400

Openings,

1972-85

Supply, 1972-85

Num ber (in thousands)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

■ : ■

Engineering

Physical science

:

Openings
Supply

Chem istry
Physics

■
■ ■

Life science
Mathem atics
Social science
and psychology
Psychology
Arts and
humanities
Education
Business and
commerce
A ll other
fields




—I

The o u tlo o k fo r P h.D .'s during
the 1 97 0's
and early 1980's
p ro bably w ill n o t be as bright as
in th e past. Increasing num bers
m ay w o rk in jobs n o t fo rm e rly
held by P h.D .'s. In some fields
P h.D .'s w ill feel the effects m ore
strongly than in o th er fields.

Introduction
Beginning in the late 1960’s, great concern devel­
oped about the future employment prospects for
persons holding a doctoral degree. Federal cutbacks
of funds for defense and space-related activities and
research and development (R&D) combined with
weakened financial positions of colleges and univer­
sities to produce a poor job market for doctorate
holders. Individuals having doctoral degrees experi­
enced difficulty in obtaining jobs of their choice.
Nevertheless, the number of students enrolled in
graduate programs continued to increase to record
levels.
Publicity about manpower surpluses highlighted
the troubled job market for Ph. D .’s during the late
1960’s and early 1970’s. Numerous stories were
told of doctorate holders preparing income tax
forms, pumping gasoline, or parking cars. Unem­
ployment data for selected groups of Ph. D .’s indi­
cated that although their unemployment rate was
much lower than the average for all workers, it had
increased significantly during the 1968-71 period.1
When the employment situation for doctorate
holders is assessed, however, the consequences of
underutilized Ph. D. manpower must be considered
for individuals, employers, and society. Additional
questions also arise. What is the long term supplydemand outlook for Ph. D. manpower? Should
graduate education be changed from its traditional
1For example, the National Science Foundation reported a
0.9 percent unemployment rate for Ph. D. scientists in 1970,
rising to 1.4 percent in 1971, compared with a 1970 unemploy­
ment rate of 4.9 percent for all workers, rising to 5.9 percent
in 1971. See Unemployment Rates and Employment Characteris­
tics for Scientists and Engineers, 1971, NSF 72-30 (National
Science Foundation, 1972).




research orientation? What information should be
given to young people who are considering graduate
education as a road to their career goals?
This report attempts to shed light on some of the
major factors that should be considered in answer­
ing these questions for policymaking and vocational
guidance by providing basic manpower data on
Ph. D .’s. The data cover persons holding a doctoral
degree in engineering, mathematics, natural science,
social science, the arts and humanities, education,
business and commerce, and other fields. These
degrees may be conferred as Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph. D.). Doctor of Science (Sc. D.), Doctor of
Education (Ed. D.), Doctor of Business Administra­
tion (D.B.A.), Doctor of Arts, or other similar
awards. First professional doctor’s degrees such as
M .D., D.D.S., and J.D. are not included.
Underlying the projections in this report are the
assumptions that changes in relative wages, the de­
sire for education, and other factors will have little
effect on the educational patterns and career choices
of young persons, and that conditions will not arise
whereby employers will significantly change the trend
in the utilization patterns for Ph. D. manpower. If
supply and demand are not in balance, however,
such changes are likely to occur to some extent.
Therefore, the requirements and supply projections in
this report are not forecasts of actual conditions in
1985. However, by illustrating what could be ex­
pected if the past decade’s trends and patterns con­
tinue, valuable insight can be obtained for planning
careers, education, and training. It also would be
very useful to identify the extent to which adjust­
ments to supply and requirements will occur because
of supply-demand imbalances.

Chapter I.

Current Employment

About 335,000 persons having a doctoral degree
were employed in 1972. Nearly half—
about 162,000—
had doctorates in engineering or natural science
(table 1). Only a small proportion had earned their
doctorates in business and commerce.2
2These estimates are consistent with those published by the
National Academy of Sciences, although they differ somewhat
because of coverage. The current study encompasses doctorate
holders in all fields, including fields not included by the Acade­
my. See appendix to this report and Doctoral Scientists and
Engineers in the United States, 1973 Profile (National Academy
of Sciences, March 1974).

Em ployers

Of the doctorate holders employed in 1972, about
70 percent worked in educational institutions. An­
other 15 percent worked in private industry and
business or were self-employed. Smaller proportions
worked in government and in nonprofit organiza­
tions. This distribution is virtually the same as 10
years earlier.
In all fields except engineering and chemistry,
educational institutions were the major employer of

Table 1. Employment of Ph. D.’s, by field and employer, 1972
Field

Total

Educational
institutions

Industry and
business

Government

Nonprofit
organizations

Other1

Number (in thousands)
All fields...............................................................

334.6

235.9

48.7

27.6

12.7

9.7

Engineering and natural science..................................
Engineering.............................................................
Physical science.....................................................
Chemistry..........................................................
Physics..............................................................
Life science............................................................
Mathematics...........................................................
Social science and psychology....................................
Psychology..............................................................
Arts and humanities......................................................
Education.....................................................................
Business and commerce..............................................
Other fields..................................................................

161.7
31.0
63.8
35.9
22.6
54.5
12.4
63.8
22.7
38.8
58.3
5.4
6.7

91.1
12.7
30.6
14.6
12.5
38.1
9.7
47.2
13.2
36.8
51.6
4.5
4.8

44.6
14.0
24.3
17.6
5.6
4.6
1.7
2.6
1.3
.4
.6
.4
.1

15.4
2.0
4.9
1.9
2.5
7.9
.5
8.1
4.9
.4
3.3
.1
.2

4.8
1.0
1.7
.7
1.0
1.7
.3
3.8
2.3
.7
1.9
.1
1.4

5.9
1.3
2.3
1.0
1.0
2.1
.2
2.1
1.0
.5
.9
.2
(2 )

Percent distribution
All fields..............................................................

100.0

70.5

14.6

8.2

3.8

2.9

Engineering and natural science.................................
Engineering............................................................
Physical science....................................................
Chemistry.........................................................
Physics.............................................................
Life science...........................................................
Mathematics..........................................................
Social science and psychology............................ .......
Psychology.............................................................
Arts and humanities.................................................
Education....................................................................
Business and commerce................... ..........................
Other fields.................................... .
...............

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

56.3
41.0
48.0
40.8
55.3
69.9
77.8
73.9
58.4
94.8
88.5
84.0
72.3

27.6
45.0
38.0
49.1
24.6
8.5
13.9
4.1
5.7
1.0
1.0
8.3
1.8

9.5
6.6
7.7
5.3
11.0
14.5
4.0
12.7
21.7
1.1
5.7
2.7
3.6

3.0
3.2
2.9
1.9
4.6
3.2
2.5
6.0
10.0
1.8
3.2
2.0
21.7

3.6
4.2
3.4
2.9
4.5
3.9
1.8
3.3
4.2
1.3
1.6
3.0
.6

11n the prime source data, the National Academy of Sciences shows an “ other” category,
which may be used by respondents to the NAS doctoral report. However, it is not clear what
this category includes.




2 Fewer than 50 persons.

Field

Total

Educational
institutions

Industry and
business

Government

Nonprofit
organizations

Other1

All fields...................................................................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology.........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education....... >
................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

48.3
9.3
19.1
10.7
6.8
16.3
3.7
19.1
6.8
11.6
17.4
1.6
2.0

38.6
5.4
13.0
6.2
5.3
16.1
4.1
20.0
5.6
15.6
21.9
1.9
2.0

91.5
28.7
49.8
36.2
11.4
9.5
3.5
5.4
2.6
.8
1.2
.9
.2

55.6
7.4
17.8
6.9
9.0
28.6
1.8
29.4
17.8
1.5
12.0
.5
.9

38.0
7.7
14.2
5.3
8.1
13.6
2.4
29.9
17.7
5.4
14.6
.8
11.3

61.0
13.6
22.9
10.9
10.6
22.1
2.3
22.0
9.9
5.3
9.7
1.7
.4

1 In the prime source data, the National Academy of Sciences shows an “ other” category,
which may be used by respondents to the NAS doctoral report. However, it is not clear what
this category includes.

Ph. D .’s. Because of the great involvement of engi­
neers and chemists in industrial research and devel­
opment, private industry utilizes proportionately
more doctoral workers in these two fields than in
other fields. In many fields, few doctorate holders
work outside of educational institutions. For ex­
ample, only 5 percent of the Ph. D ’s in the arts
and humanities work outside of educational insti­
tutions.
As an indication of the importance of R&D in
industry and business, more than nine-tenths of the
Ph. D .’s working for these employers hold degrees

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

in engineering and natural science (table 2). In
government, slightly more than one-half of the
Ph. D .’s are in engineering and natural science.
The government’s strong interest in social welfare
and health programs also can be seen clearly—
more
than one-fourth of government Ph. D .’s are in
social science and psychology and another onefourth are in life science. On the other hand, in
both educational institutions and nonprofit organiza­
tions, three-fifths of all Ph. D .’s are in fields other
than engineering and natural science.

Table 3. Employment of Ph. D.’s, by employer and primary work activity, 1972
Employer

Total

Teaching

Research
and
development

Administration

Professional
services to
individuals

Other
activities

Number (in thousands)
All employers..............................................................

334.6

168.6

109.8

26.8

18.9

10.6

Educational institutions...................................................
Industry and business.......................................................
Government......................................................................
Nonprofit organizations....................................................
Other1...............................................................................

235.9
48.7
27.6
12.7
9.7

166.6
.2
.7
.6
.4

38.6
40.5
18.1
6.9
5.7

21.7
1.1
2.3
1.0
.6

6.9
3.1
4.8
3.3
.7

2.1
3.7
1.6
.9
2.3

Percent distribution
All employers..............................................................

100.0

50.4

32.8

8.0

5.6

3.2

Educational institutions...................................................
Industry and business.......................................................
Government......................................................................
Nonprofit organizations....................................................
Other1...............................................................................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

70.6
.5
2.7
4.9
4.5

16.4
83.1
65.6
54.1
58.7

9.2
2.3
8.4
7.7
5.8

2.9
6.4
17.5
26.3
7.7

.9
7.7
5.8
7.0
23.3

' In the prime source data, the National Academy of Sciences shows an “ other” category,
wflicTi may be used by respondents to the NAS doctoral report. However, it is not clear what
this category includes.




NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

P rim a ry w ork activity

Ph. D .’s work primarily in teaching, research and
development, administration, and professional serv­
ices to individuals. The single most important work
activity is teaching—
employing about one-half of
them most of the time (table 3).3
Next to teaching, the most important work activity
of Ph. D .’s— percent— R&D. In all sectors ex­
33
is
cept education, more Ph. D ’s were engaged in
R&D than any other activity. R&D activities in­
volved 83 percent of the Ph. D .’s employed in
industry and business, 66 percent in government,
and 54 percent in nonprofit organizations com­
pared with only 16 percent in educational institutions.
About 8 percent or 26,800 of all Ph. D .’s were
in administration in 1972. Approximately 21,700 of

Profes­
sional
Research!
and j Adminis­ services Other
Total Teaching
to
develop­ tration
activities
indivi­
ment
duals

Employer

All employers.. 100.0
Educational
institutions.......
Industry and
business............
Government.........
Nonprofit
organizations....
Other1.................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

70.5

98.8

35.2

80.3

36.7

19.8

14.6
8.3

.1
.4

36.9
16.5

4.1
8.6

16.5
25.5

34.9
15.1

3.8
2.9

.4
.2

6.3
5.2

3.8
2.3

17.6
3.7

8.5
21.7

1 1n the prime source data, the National Academy of Sciences shows an “ other” category,
which may be used by respondents to the NAS doctoral report.

3These data are based on what the Ph. D. did most of the
time although the individual also may have worked in an­
other activity.

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

Table 5. Employment of Ph. D.’s, by field and primary work activity, 1972
Field

Total

Teaching

Research
and
development

Administration

Professional
services to
individuals

Other
activities

Number (in thousands)
All fields...................................................................

334.6

168.6

109.8

26.8

18.9

10.6

Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education.........................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

161.7
31.0
63.8
35.9
22.6
54.5
12.4
63.8
22.7
38.8
58.3
5.4
6.7

59.4
9.2
20.2
11.0
6.2
22.2
7.8
36.3
7.9
35.4
29.0
4.1
4.4

90.1
18.8
40.0
23.4
15.5
27.3
3.9
13.5
6.5
1.1
4.1
.4
.5

3.0
.7
.8
.4
.3
1.4
.1
2.8
.7
1.1
18.9
.4
.5

2.9
.6
.6
.2
.2
1.5
.2
9.3
7.0
.5
5.0
.3
.9

6.2
1.6
2.1
.9
.5
2.1
.4
1.9
.5
.7
1.2
.2
.3

Percent distribution
All fields...................................................................

100.0

50.4

32.8

8.0

5.6

3.2

Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology.........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education.........................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

36.8
29.8
31.7
30.6
27.3
40.7
62.8
56.9
35.0
91.1
49.8
75.8
66.6

55.7
60.6
62.7
65.2
68.6
50.2
31.8
21.2
28.8
2.9
7.1
7.4'
7.5

1.8
2.3
1.3
1.1
1.3
2.5
.7
4.4
2.9
2.9
32.4
7.9
7.8

1.8
2.0
1.0
.6
.7
2.8
1.3
14.5
31.0
1.2
8.6
5.1
13.8

3.9
5.3
3.3
2.5
2.1
3.8
3.4
3.0
2.3
1.9
2.1
3.8
4.3




these worked in educational institutions, 2,300 in
government, 1,000 in nonprofit organizations, and
1,100 in industry and business.
In the fourth activity, professional services to
individuals,4 less than 6 percent of all Ph. D ’s
are employed. Of these, 37 percent worked in
educational institutions, 26 percent in nonprofit
organizations, and 18 percent in government (table 4).
Primary work activity varies considerably by field
(table 5). For example, over three-fifths of Ph. D.
4Included are consultation, guidance, and advisory activities.




mathematicians primarily teach, but no other group
of engineering and natural science Ph. D .’s is en­
gaged in teaching to that extent. In engineering and
natural science specialties, between one-half and
two-thirds of the doctorate holders participate in
R&D most of the time. Arts and humanities doc­
torate holders, on the other hand, have little em­
ployment outside of teaching. Psychology is the
only field shown in which Ph. D .’s are very nearly
evenly divided among three activities.

Chapter II.

Projected Requirements and Supply

Requirem ents
A basic question exists about the nature of the
demand for Ph. D. manpower. Is there an identifi­
able need in a specific occupation for doctoral work­
ers that can be distinguished from a general need
for college educated workers? If it cannot be sepa­
rately identified, projections of demand for Ph. D .’s
would not be meaningful. The need exists if (1)
specific jobs can be identified that require Ph. D .’s
and (2) employers have special activities designed to
recruit Ph. D .’s.
Although a decision to hire a specific individual
depends on that person’s qualifications and on cur­
rent economic conditions, the demand for Ph. D .’s
can be identified separately from the more general
demand for college graduates. This conclusion is
based largely on a 1968 BLS study of doctoral
scientists and engineers in private industry.5 How­
ever, a doctoral degree increasingly is required for
academic employment, although private industry
may be less rigid than higher education or govern­
ment in substituting non-Ph. D .’s for Ph. D .’s.
Nonprofit organizations have hiring practices similar
to policies in higher education.
In some instances, employment of doctorate holders
is related to the prestige factor of the degree itself.
If an organization is willing to pay a higher rate for
a Ph. D. than for a less qualified worker, then an
effective demand exists. Whatever the reason, the
result is the same— economic demand for Ph. D ’s.
an
The projections of requirements in this report
assume a continuation through 1985 of past use
patterns for Ph. D .’s relative to total workers in a
specific occupation. For example, historical data
indicated that the propprtion of psychologists em­
ployed by nonprofit organizations who have had a
doctorate has remained at about 25 percent over the
past several years. In the 1985 projections, this rate
is, therefore, the same.

5Ph. D. Scientists and Engineers in Private Industry, 1968-80,
Bulletin 1648 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1970).




Most ratios, however, did change between 1966
and 1972, as a result of changes in the nature of the
work requiring higher degrees of skill and education,
institutional changes affecting occupational qualifica­
tions, and supply-demand conditions stemming from
the rapid growth in the number of Ph. D. degrees
that were awarded. Projected 1985 ratios developed
for each field by sector of the economy were applied
to the Bureau’s 1985 occupational projections to
obtain the projections of Ph. D. requirements.6
In the analysis of Ph. D. manpower, therefore,
the interaction of a greater (or lesser) supply than
in the past of Ph. D .’s relative to demand could
change employers’ use patterns. For example, if in a
specific field many more Ph. D .’s became available
than were being hired at the going wage rate for
Ph. D .’s, theoretically some might accept jobs at
lower wages which in turn could induce employers
to hire even more Ph. D .’s. Also, a changing
supply-demand situation of Ph. D .’s could change
employers’ perceptions of what constitutes Ph. D.type work. To the extent that these perceptions
change over time, Ph. D .’s could be employed in a
wide variety of jobs not now currently filled by
those holding the Ph. D.
General assumptions that underlie the Bureau’s
occupational projections are as follows:
The institutional framework of the American economy
will not change radically.
Economic, social, technological, and scientific trends will
continue, including values placed on work, education, in­
come, and leisure.
Efforts to solve major domestic problems, such as air
and water pollution, solid waste disposal, urban conges­
tion, inadequate industrial safety, and energy shortages,
may consume more productive resources.
Fiscal, monetary, and manpower training and educational
programs will achieve a satisfactory balance between unem­
ployment and price stability, permitting achievement of the
long-term economic growth rate. (The projections assume
a 4-percent unemployment rate and a 3-percent annual
increase in the implicit price deflator for gross national
product.)

6 See appendix for detailed explanation.

The projections also assume that U.S. energy
requirements will be roughly in line with those pro­
jected by the U.S. Department of the Interior in
U.S. Energy Through the Year 2000, December
1970. This means major reliance on oil imports to
close the energy supply-demand gap. However, cur­
tailment of oil supplies from the Mideast in late
1973 raised questions regarding the use of imports
to close the supply-demand gap over the next few
years. It remains to be seen what implications higher
oil prices may have for the long-term growth rate
and for structural changes in the economy. The
Bureau is studying the employment effects of alter­
native assumptions on energy; the results are ex­
pected to be available in late 1975.
Factors affecting requirem ents

The earlier discussion indicated the basic param­
eters for projections of Ph. D .’s in this report.
However, several factors in specific occupations
affect the demand for Ph. D .’s. The two most im­
portant work activities of Ph. D .’s are teaching and
research and development. Although teaching is done
primarily by college and university faculty, R&D
activities take place in different sectors of the econo­
my-colleges and universities, private industry, gov­
ernment, and nonprofit organizations. Some of the
specific factors that affect the demand for faculty
Ph. D .’s and research Ph. D .’s are discussed in the
following paragraphs.
Faculty. In educational institutions, doctorate hold­
ers teach and advise students; conduct research; and
administer schools, departments, or programs.
In statistical terms, college and university demand
for Ph. D .’s is a function of the number of young
persons in the population, the proportion attending
college, pupil-faculty ratios, and doctorate-faculty
ratios. The Office of Education’s projections of
total faculty, which were used to develop the
doctorate-faculty ratios in this report, indicate that
pupil-teacher ratios will continue to decline gradually.7
In 1972, about 57 percent of all faculty members
in 4-year colleges and universities held a doctorate.
If present trends continue, the proportion of faculty
having doctorates by 1985 could be expected to rise
to about 65 percent. Based on trends between 1966
and 1972, the comparable ratios for community
7 During the 1972-85 period covered by this study, the Office
of Education projects that enrollment in institutions of higher
education will increase by 5.6 percent.




colleges would be 5 percent in 1972 and 9 percent
in 1985.
If 65 percent of college and university faculty have
doctorates by 1985, projections in this report imply
that about 71 percent of new hires in 4-year colleges
and universities and about 10 percent of new hires in
community colleges will have such degrees. 8
Doctorate holders working in elementary and
secondary schools are primarily Ed. D .’s, although
the exact proportion of such workers is not known.
The projections, therefore, reflect trends for the
period 1957-72 in the proportion of doctorate hold­
ers to all teachers employed in elementary and
secondary schools.
Research and development. The key demand factor
for doctorate holders in sectors other than educa­
tional institutions is R&D activity, which is largely
performed by scientists and engineers.
Two aspects are involved in estimating demand
for Ph. D .’s in R&D: (1) The level of R&D activity
(dollars expended), and (2) the nature of R&D
activity (the mix between research and development).
Doctorate holders are more likely to do research
than development. The Ph. D. projections in this
report are consistent with the level of R&D activity
implied in the Bureau’s economic projections to
1985.
Other factors. Most Ph. D .’s work in either teach­
ing or R&D positions. A rapidly growing number of
doctorate holders, however, work in jobs that prob­
ably could be performed as well by non-Ph. D .’s.
Even when demand generally has been high, some
Ph. D .’s have worked by choice in jobs that tradi­
tionally have not been held by Ph. D .’s; others, for
personal reasons, could only find such jobs. It is
likely that this type of nontraditional employment
and underemployment will continue. Employment of
Ph. D .’s in these kinds of jobs does not represent
true demand for doctoral manpower, but it does
draw on the supply of Ph. D ’s. These patterns
must be accounted for in projections of future de­
mand if the picture is to be complete.
Projected requirem ents

Over the 1972-85 period, requirements for P h .D .’s
are projected to rise about 42 percent or 13 times
A
as fast as total employment. By comparison, demand
for workers having 4 years or more of college is
8 See alternative projections on page 13.

Requirements,
1985

Employer

Demand for engineering Ph. D .’s is expected to
rise to 59,100, an increase of more than 90 percent—
the largest relative increase of all the fields. More
than three-fifths of these jobs in 1985 are projected
for industry and business. Nearly another one-third
are expected to be in educational institutions.
Demand for physical science Ph. D .’s is projected
to increase by about 44 percent to 91,700. Nearly
one-half of the jobs are expected to be in industry
and business, with another two-fifths in educational
institutions.
Some variation exists for the two major subfields,
chemistry and physics. Demand for chemistry
Ph. D .’s is expected to grow to 50,000, nearly 41
percent above 1972 levels. Nearly three-fifths of the
projected 1985 requirements are expected to be in
industry and business and almost one-third in educa­
tional institutions. On the other hand, nearly onehalf of the projected jobs for physics Ph. D .’s in
1985 are expected to be for work in educational
institutions and more than one-third in industry and
business, with demand for all Ph. D .’s in physics
rising by 30 percent to 29,400.
Demand for life science Ph. D .’s is projected to
grow by 34 percent to 73,100. More than two-thirds
of these are expected to be employed by educational
institutions in 1985.
Mathematics Ph. D. requirements are projected to
increase by nearly 59 percent to 19,800, with threefourths of all mathematics doctoral degree holders
working for educational institutions.
Social science and psychology Ph. D. require­
ments are projected to rise by about 37 percent to
87,100. Three-fourths of the jobs for these workers
are expected to be in educational institutions.

Percent change,
1972-85

All employers..................

474,900

41.9

Educational institutions..........
Industry and business..............
Government..............................
Nonprofit organizations...........

312,000
97,400
42,700
22,800

32.3
100.0
54.7
79.1

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

projected to rise by about 68 percent because of ex­
pected rapid increases in sales and managerial jobs—
areas not expected to have a significant demand for
Ph. D .’s.
The projected rate of growth for Ph. D .’s varies
among different employers. Requirements for
Ph. D .’s in educational institutions are expected to
increase only 32 percent; in government, almost 55
percent; in nonprofit organizations 79 percent; and in
industry and business, 100 percent (table 6). As a
result of these different growth rates, the distribu­
tion of Ph. D .’s by sector of the economy is ex­
pected to change over the 1972-85 period as follows:
Distribution of Ph. D.’s,
by employer

1972

1985

Total.................................

100.0

100.0

Educational institutions..........
Industry and business..............
Government.............................
Nonprofit organizations...........

72.6
15.0
8.5
3.9

65.7
20.5
9.0
4.8

The projections also show great variety in growth
rates by occupation (tables 7 and 8).
Table 7. Projected requirements for Ph. D.'s, by field, 1985
Field

Employment,
1972

Requirements,
1985

Percent change,
1972-85

All fields...................................................................

334,600

474,900

41.9

Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology.........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education.........................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

161,700
31,000
63,800
35,900
22,600
54,500
12,400
63,800
22,700
38,800
58,300
5,400
6,700

243,700
59,100
91,700
50,500
29,400
73,100
19,800
87,100
34,400
49,400
79,200
6,300
9,100

50.7
90.5
43.8
40.7
30.0
34.2
59.3
36.5
51.7
27.3
35.9
18.2
37.2




n

Field

Total

Educational
institutions

Industry and
business

Nonprofit
organizations

Government

Number (in thousands)
All fields...................................................................

474.9

312.0

97.4

42.7

22.8

Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science...............................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education.........................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

243.7
59.1
91.7
50.5
29.4
73.1
19.8
87.1
34.4
49.4
79.2
6.3
9.1

120.2
18.0
37.0
16.1
13.7
50.1
15.1
65.4
20.2
46.7
68.3
5.2
6.1

90.8
35.6
44.0
29.9
10.6
7.9
3.3
3.6
1.0
.8
1.2
.7
.3

25.2
3.5
8.3
3.6
3.6
12.6
.8
12.1
9.7
.7
4.1
.2
.4

7.5
2.0
2.5
.9
1.4
2.5
.5
6.0
3.5
1.2
5.6
.2
2.3

Percent distribution
All fields...................................................................

100.0

65.7

20.5

9.0

4.8

Engineering and natural science.......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry.............................................................
Physics.................................................................
Life science...............................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology........................................
Psychology.................................................................
Arts and humanities.........................................................
Education........................................................................
Business and commerce..................................................
Other fields......................................................................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

49.3
30.5
40.3
31.9
46.8
68.5
76.2
75.1
58.6
94.6
86.2
82.8
67.2

37.3
60.3
48.0
59.2
36.2
10.7
16.8
4.2
2.9
1.6
1.5
11.0
3.1

10.4
5.9
9.0
7.1
12.2
17.3
4.2
13.9
28.2
1.3
5.2
3.1
4.3

3.1
3.3
2.7
1.8
4.8
3.4
2.7
6.8
10.3
2.5
7.1
3.1
25.3

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

Psychology Ph. D. requirements, which are ex­
pected to increase nearly 52 percent, will rise most
rapidly in government where more than one-fourth
of the jobs in 1985 are projected to be found. Grow­
ing nearly as rapidly, psychology degree holders em­
ployed by educational institutions may constitute
nearly three-fifths of the 1985 requirements.
Demand for arts and humanities Ph. D .’s, nearly
all of whom are expected to be employed by educa­
tional institutions, is projected to increase by 27
percent to 49,400.
Demand for education Ph. D .’s is expected to in­
crease by 36 percent to 79,200. Although require­
ments in industry and business and in nonprofit
organizations are projected to double and triple,
respectively, nearly 9 of every 10 are expected to be
working for educational institutions.
Demand for business and commerce Ph. D .’s is
projected to grow to 6,300, an increase of only 18
percent. Although industry’s demand for these is
expected to grow, only about 1 of every 10 is ex­
pected to work for industry and business. Most




are projected still to be in educational institutions.
Demand for doctorate holders in all other fields
is projected to increase by 37 percent to 9,100.
About two-thirds of these probably will be needed
by educational institutions. One-fourth are expected
to be working for nonprofit organizations.
Owing to the variation in the projected growth
rates among individual fields, the distribution of
Ph. D .’s in 1985, by broad field, is expected to
change somewhat from the distribution in 1972, as
shown in the following tabulation:
Distribution of Ph. D.’s,
________ by field_______
1972
Total, all fields................
Engineering and
natural science.....................
Social science and
psychology.............................
Arts and humanities.................
Education................................
Business and commerce..........
Other fields..............................

1985

100.0

100.0

48.3

51.3

19.1
11.6
17.4
1.6
2.0

18.4
10.4
16.7
1.3
1.9

Total
demand

All fields...................................................................
Engineering and natural science......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science.........................................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education.........................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.......................................................................

Field

Growth

Replacement
needs

Total

Educational
upgrading

Employment
expansion

187,400

140,300

30,800

109,500

47,100

100,100
29,300
33,400
14,800
7,700
27,600
10,000
35,200
15,000
19,700
26,800
2,000
3,600

82,000
28,100
28,000
14,600
6,700
18,600
7,400
23,300
11,700
10,600
20,900
1,000
2,500

19,900
5,500
8,900
7,100
1,100
3,400
2,100
4,900
4,100
200
4,000
300
1,700

62,100
22,600
19,100
7,500
5,600
15,200
5,300
18,400
7,600
10,400
16,900
900
800

18,100
1,200
5,400
200
1,000
9,000
2,600
11,900
3,300
9,100
5,900
1,000
1,100

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

Job op e n in gs

A lte rn a tiv e projections

Job openings for Ph. D .’s are created by either
occupational growth or the need to replace Ph. D .’s
who will retire, die, or otherwise leave the labor
force. The projections in this report indicate a need
for about 187,000 doctorate holders over the 1972-85
period, 140,000 for growth and 47,000 for replace­
ments (table 9).
Openings resulting from growth are based on an
analysis of trends in the proportion of workers in
each occupational field holding a doctorate. (See
appendix for a discussion of the projection method.)
About four-fifths of these job ^openings stem from
growth in the number of workers in each occupation.
The remainder result from the educational upgrading
of jobs and reflect the projected 1972-85 increase in
the proportion of workers in each field holding a
doctorate.
Replacement needs are estimated by applying an
average annual separation rate to the projected
average annual employment between 1972 and 1985.
The separation rate for Ph. D .’s, 0.89 percent,9 was
computed as a part of this study. (See appendix.)
Growth and replacement needs also may be ex­
pressed as annual openings for Ph. D. workers.
Approximately 14,000 doctorate holders will be re­
quired on the average each year between 1972 and
1985, of which one-fourth will replace Ph. D. work­
ers who retire, die, or leave the labor force for
other reasons.

The job projections described earlier are based on
continuation of past trends and certain assumptions
about the ratio of Ph. D .’s to all workers for each
occupation in each major economic sector. However,
many factors, including changing wage differentials
and changing technology, could alter these patterns.
It is desirable to know, therefore, the effect of
changes in these ratios on manpower needs for
Ph. D .’s.
Alternative projections were developed for 4-year
college and university faculties, the sector of the
economy employing the most Ph. D .’s. The basic
projections imply that about 71 percent of annual
faculty openings would be job openings for Ph.
D .’s. Thus, of the estimated 8,250 annual openings
for faculty over the 1972-85 period, 5,900 would be
for Ph. D .’s. However, the proportion could rise if
greater numbers of doctorate workers were available
at lower relative salaries, and, consequently, colleges
and universities hired more Ph. D .’s. Increases of 5
percentage points to 76 percent and 10 percentage
points to 81 percent would raise annual openings as
shown in the following tabulation. Over the 13-year
period, job openings for an additional 5,200 Ph. D .’s
on college and university faculties would result from
each 5-percentage point increase in the proportion of
new hires with a doctoral degree.

9This rate is somewhat lower than comparable rates for all
college and university teachers (2.68 percent) or for all physicists
(1.07 percent) because the age distributions of Ph. D .’s in both
1972 and 1985 are skewed toward workers under the age of 40.




Percent of new hires
with doctorates
71
76
81

Annual faculty
openings

Annual Ph. D.
requirements

8,250
8,250
8,250

5,900
6,300
6,700

If 81 percent of all new faculty hires for colleges
and universities between 1972 and 1985 have doc­
torates, by 1985 the percentage of total faculty with
doctoral degrees would rise to about 67 percent. As
may be seen from the following tabulation, large
increases in the proportion of new hires with doc­
torates would produce small changes in the per­
centage of the faculty with doctorates because the
ratio of annual openings to total faculty averages
only 2 percent between 1972 and 1985. Even if 100
percent of all new hires have doctorates, the per­
centage of total faculty with doctorates would rise to
only 73 percent in 1985.
Percent of annual new
hires with doctorates (1972-85)

Percent of total faculty
with doctorates (1985)

71
81
85
100

65
67
68
73

Increasing the proportion of Ph. D .’s employed
by community colleges probably will not have much
effect either. The projections developed in this re­
port indicate that 10 percent of the projected 11,000
annual new hires by junior colleges will have doc­
torates. For each increase of 5 percentage points,
only 550 additional doctorates would be needed each
year. Thus, these institutions probably will have little
effect on the supply-demand balance of Ph. D .’s.

Su p ply
The supply estimates in this report are based on
the U.S. Office of Education’s projections of doc­
torate degrees. Projections for the first 5 years, by
field, are based primarily on enrollments for ad­
vanced degrees the previous fall and the proportion
of these enrollments that historically have resulted
in doctorates.10 This method is valid since anyone
who will earn a doctorate in the next 5 years prob­
ably is enrolled in graduate school.1 Projections of
1
Ph. D. degrees beyond 5 years are based on more
general demographic characteristics, and assume that
the percent of the age group getting a doctorate will
continue to increase, but at a slower rate than in
the past.
In the past, population growth, increased sources
of student financial support, and other factors com­
bined to produce a rapidly growing number of new
doctorate degree recipients each year. In the future,
10 This procedure was first initiated in 1971.
1 Report on the CGS Doctorate Production Survey (Washing­
1
ton: Council of Graduate Schools, May 3, 1972).




Field

Number Percent

All fields................................................................... 583.400
Engineering and natural science.......................................
Engineering.................................................................
Physical science..............................................
Chemistry..............................................................
Physics..................................................................
Life science................................................................
Mathematics...............................................................
Social science and psychology.........................................
Psychology..................................................................
Arts and humanities..........................................................
Education....................................................................
Business and commerce...................................................
Other fields.................. ....................................................

224.400
50.300
60.300
25,800
19,900
92,200
21,600
101,800
37,700
79,600
148,800
19,200
9,700

100.0
38.5
8.6
10.3
4.4
3.4
15.8
3.7
17.5
6.5
13.6
25.5
3.3
1.7

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

even though the school age population will not con­
tinue to grow at past rates, the impact of rising
educational aspirations, as measured by the trend of
rising proportions of the college age population who
complete college and attend graduate school, indi­
cates a 3-percent annual increase in the number of
new doctorates between 1972 and 1985.
Not all new Ph. D. recipients, however, enter the
U.S. labor force. Some foreign nationals return to
their homelands and some U.S. citizens choose to
work overseas. On the other hand, some persons
who earn Ph. D .’s overseas (or who originally were
trained in the U.S. and returned to their homelands)
may immigrate. Estimates of the first group were
subtracted, and of the second group were added to
the Office of Education projections. After these ad­
justments, about 580,000 Ph. D .’s would be seeking
to enter the U.S. labor force between 1972 and
Table 11. supply and demand, 1985
(in thousands)

Field

New supply,
1972-85

Openings,
1972-85

Difference

All fields...................................

583.4

187.4

396.0

Engineering and natural science......
Engineering.................................
Physical science........................
Chemistry..............................
Physics..................................
Life science...............................
Mathematics...............................
Social science and psychology........
Psychology.................................
Arts and humanities.........................
Education.........................................
Business and commerce..................
Other fields.......................................

224.4
50.3
60.3
25.8
19.9
92.2
21.6
101.8
37.7
79.6
148.8
19.2
9.7

100.1
29.3
33.4
14.8
7.7
27.6
10.0
35.2
15.0
19.7
26.8
2.0
3.6

124.3
21.0
26.9
11.0
12.2
64.6
11.6
66.6
22.7
59.9
122.0
17.2
6.1

1985. About 70 percent of them will have earned
degrees during that period (table 10).
Based on these projections, nearly two-fifths of
new doctoral workers over the 1972-85 period would
be in engineering and natural science; one-fourth in
education; one-sixth in social science and psychology;
one-eighth in arts and humanities; and small pro­
portions in business and commerce and other fields.

Sup ply-D e m an d Balance
According to the projections of requirements pre­
sented earlier, job openings for doctoral degree
workers between 1972 and 1985 would total about
187,000. The available supply of new Ph. D .’s dur­
ing the same period, however, is estimated at about




580,000 persons. Therefore, if present trends continue
in patterns of use of Ph. D .’s relative to other work­
ers and in the proportion of persons obtaining doc­
toral degrees, by 1985 more than twice as many
Ph. D .’s would be available for work in Ph. D.-type
jobs as there are jobs (table 11).
The gap between the prospective supply and re­
quirements for new Ph. D .’s varies by field. For
example, in physics, the supply would be about half
again more than requirements while in mathematics,
only about one-eighth more. In contrast, projected
supply may be twice as high in life science or social
science and psychology; 3 times in arts and humani­
ties; 4l/2 times in education; and 8V2 times in busi­
ness and commerce. However, in many cases the
magnitude of numerical differences is more note­
worthy.

Chapter III.
For many years, society seemed to have an insati­
able demand for new doctoral degree holders. Be­
ginning in the mid-1960’s, however, observers began
cautioning that perhaps the situation would change.12
This report supports the conclusions reached by
those anticipating a changing supply-demand rela­
tionship in the 1970’s through the mid-1980’s. Even
under the most extreme alternative projections, sup­
ply would greatly exceed demand. This chapter
focuses on some of the implications of the imbalance
in this relationship and of the groups primarily
affected: (1) individuals, (2) universities, (3) other
employers, and (4) society.
Individuals. Even with the oversupply projected, it
is unlikely that unemployment of Ph. D .’s will be
high relative to other groups in the labor force. In­
stead, underemployment—
defined as employment in
a job requiring less skill than the worker has ac­
quired—
with its inherent job dissatisfaction, may be
widespread.
When persons with more education take jobs pre­
viously held by individuals with less education,
bumping— chain reaction felt most on the low
a
end— set off through the economy from the highest
is
level. In the future, workers without a college degree
will have less chance than in the past of advancing
to professional positions and to higher level posi­
tions in sales, managerial, and some clerical and
service occupations. Competition for entry jobs may
be limited and few jobs may be available.
As a result, salary differentials paid to Ph. D.
holders may narrow, although preliminary evidence
is mixed. For the years 1967-68 through 1972-73,
information from the College Placement Council’s
survey of salary offers to new degree recipients shows
no clear trend toward either widening or narrowing
of the differentials between bachelor’s degree salaries
,2Allan M. Cartter, “ A New Look at the Supply of College
Teachers,” Educational Record, Vol. 44, Summer 1965; Allan
M. Cartter, ‘‘Scientific Manpower for 1970-1985,” Science, 172,
Apr. 9, 1971; Dael Wolfe and Charles V. Kidd, ‘‘The Future
Market for Ph. D .’s,” Science, 172, Aug. 27, 1971; and the
Carnegie Commission’s College Graduates and Jobs (New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1973).




Implications
and doctorate degree salaries. For example, between
1967-68 and 1972-73, salary offers to new physics
graduates increased by about 16 percent for those
with the bachelor’s degree; for those with the
Ph. D ., the increase was about 14 percent. For
mathematics graduates, comparable figures were 14
percent and 20 percent.
Universities. For universities, the availability of
funds to support graduate students is a major factor
underlying the Ph. D. manpower situation. During
the peak academic year of 1967-68, for example,
about 51,000 graduate students held federally sup­
ported fellowships or traineeships, many for 3 years
of study. By the 1972-73 academic year, the number
of students funded in this manner had fallen to
fewer than 25,000. By early 1974, the estimate was
6,600 for the 1974-75 academic year, mostly for only
1 year of graduate education.
Between 1974 and 1978, a similar drop is ex­
pected in the number of graduate students sup­
ported by the current G.I. Bill, even though the
number increased 6 percent from fiscal 1972 to fiscal
1973. However, because fewer persons have been
discharged since 1970 and because veterans have
only 10 years in which to use their educational bene­
fits, a turning point in graduate enrollments may
occur in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.
The effect of this situation on Ph. D. training and
employment in colleges and universities is difficult
to predict. On one hand, if government funds for
graduate education do not become more readily avail­
able, universities may find it economically inefficient
to operate as many doctoral programs as at present.
Neighboring institutions may consolidate duplicate
programs and eliminate others with limited appeal.
On the other hand, the overall effect of Federal
support on graduate enrollments is not clearly known.
Possibly, students may obtain funds from other
sources, such as employment or family, and reduc­
tions in enrollment could be slight. Some students,
however, may decide not to go on to graduate
school as the marginal advantage of having a doc­
toral degree declines. New baccalaureate graduates
may decide that the income lost while in graduate

school is greater than the possible additional lifetime
earnings with a doctorate.
Doctoral study programs may need to be re­
structured. With about one-half of all Ph. D .’s
teaching in classrooms, more emphasis may be given
to developing teaching skills. At present, nearly all
doctorates are research oriented with relatively few
doctoral candidates pursuing the Doctor of Arts
degree.
Other employers. Employers may be more selective
in hiring and advancement practices. They also may
find they must be selective in hiring Ph. D .’s for
work other than what has traditionally been done by
Ph. D .’s lest morale problems develop. Job dissatis­
faction may increase among workers at all levels if
educational requirements get upgraded without co­
incident upgrading of job responsibilities. Employers,
therefore, may have to consider ways to restructure
jobs to make use of Ph. D .’s.
Employers may be encouraged to restructure jobs
if salary differentials do narrow between Ph. D .’s
and other college graduates. Relatively lower Ph. D.
salaries might make it more attractive to hire in­
creased numbers of Ph. D .’s .13
Society. Finally, society— Nation—
the
must evaluate
and weigh the purpose of graduate education against
other national priorities, before deciding how much
to spend in support of graduate education.14 Also,
the relationship between national input for graduate




education and the supply of and demand for
Ph. D .’s must be determined. During the 1950’s and
early 1960’s, when the Nation faced a shortage of
doctoral manpower, support was forthcoming. Now
when an oversupply of doctoral manpower is per­
ceived, should support for graduate education be cut
back?
Before the Nation can decide these questions, it
must determine what happens if the continued rapid
growth of the manpower pool of Ph. D .’s is actively
discouraged. Will trained manpower be available to
carry on the progress of this Nation? Will Ph. D .’s
be trained in fields and specialties needed? What if a
national emergency requires manpower that is not
available?
This report has attempted to provide data that can
serve as a basis for the policymakers and planners
who will be concerned with these problems.
13 Some researchers believe that the classical price system re­
action to manpower surpluses has already begun in the Ph. D.
labor market. Freeman and Breneman, for example, estimate
that relative starting salaries of Ph. D. scientists and engineers
fell during the 1969-73 period. They feel that a continuation of
this trend would reestablish equilibrium between Ph. D. supply
and demand. See Richard B. Freeman and David W. Breneman,
Forecasting the Ph. D. Labor Market: Pitfalls for Policy, Tech­
nical Report No. Two (Washington: National Board on Grad­
uate Education, April 1974).
14A comprehensive discussion of this is contained in Grad­
uate Education: Purposes, Problems, and Potential, Technical
Report No. One (Washington: National Board on Graduate
Education, November 1972).

Appendix:

D ata Sources and Statistical M ethods

D a ta sources

The Doctorate Records Files of the National
Academy of Sciences provided most of the data for
the 1972 employment estimate. These records, which
begin with 1920, have become progressively more
detailed with the passage of time. Information is
supplied by all doctoral candidates in all fields
shortly before graduation. Also helpful was Careers
of Ph. D .’s, Academic Versus Nonacademic (NAS
Publication 1577).
To augment these data, other sources of informa­
tion were used. Principal among these were two
National Science Foundation Reports, American
Science Manpower, 1970 (NSF 71-45), and Scientists
and Engineers from Abroad, 1962-64 (NSF 67-3).
Variables used to project requirements levels are
from the Bureau’s economic model for 1985 as pub­
lished in the Monthly Labor Review, December
1973, Vol. 96, No. 12, reprinted as The U.S. Econ­
omy in 1985: A Summary of BLS Projections, Bulle­
tin 1809 (1974). Additional independent variables
were taken from the U.S. Office of Education pro­
jections of earned degrees and faculty size.

Insight into the proportion of faculty members
having the doctorate and working in elementary and
secondary schools, junior colleges, or 4-year colleges
and universities was gained from two Office of
Education studies, both titled Numbers and Charac­
teristics of Employees of Institutions of Higher Edu­
cation— 1966 and 1967. Alan E. Bayer’s College
for
and University Faculty: A Statistical Description and
Teaching Faculty in Academe: 1972-73 helped to
further delineate the faculty information.
Estimated new supply of doctorate holders for the
1972-85 period was based on the Office of Educa­
tion’s 1973 doctoral degree projections by field. For
the first 5 years of this period, the Office of Edu­
cation relates its projections directly to enrollments
for advanced degrees the previous fall. For the
second half of the period, projections are related to
more general demographic characteristics.
Statistical m ethods

A.

Current employment, 1972

For purposes of this study, it has been assumed
that Ph. D .’s employed in 1972 earned doctorates

Table A-l. Current employment of Ph. D.’s, 1972
(in thousands)

Field

All fields..............................................................
Engineering and natural science.................................
Engineering............................................................
Physical science....................................................
Chemistry.........................................................
Physics.............................................................
Life science...........................................................
Mathematics..........................................................
Social science and psychology....................................
Psychology.............................................................
Arts and humanities.....................................................
Education....................................................................
Business and commerce.............................................
Other fields.................................................................




Gross
doctorates
awarded,
1932-72

Losses to
foreign
employers,
1932-72

Losses from
deaths and
retirements,
1932-72

Additions
from
immigration
(net),
1932-72

Employment
of doctorate
holders,
1972

390.1

26.3

40.2

11.0

334.6

15.3
2.8
5.3
2.0
1.3
6.4
.9
4.7
.8
1.9
2.6
.5
1.4

19.0
3.8
7.2
4.2
2.3
6.6
1.4
7.8
2.7
4.8
7.2
.6
.8

8.6
.3
6.1
2.2
3.9
1.4
.8
1.3
.6
.6
(1 )
.2
.3

161.7
31.0
63.8
35.9
22.6
54.5
12.4
63.8
22.7
38.8
58.3
5.4
6.7

187.4
37.3
70.1
39.9
22.4
66.0
13.9
75.0
25.7
44.9
68.0
6.3
8.5

between 1932 and 1972. Thus, a 30-year old doc­
torate recipient in 1932 would be 70 years old in
1972.
The Doctorate Records Files provided data for
estimates of the total number of doctorates awarded
by field. Persons involved in post doctoral study or
training in 1971 and 1972 were considered employed
in colleges and universities. From these gross figures,
estimates were subtracted of new doctorates who leave
this country to work for foreign employers or to
return to their native lands. For the years 1958
through 1972, these data are available from the
Doctorate Records Files. Estimates of these losses
for earlier years were developed on the basis of the
reported trend (table A-l).
Losses due to deaths, retirements, and other fac­
tors were then calculated in 5-year specific age
group cohorts. The cohorts were advanced in 5-year
periods through the 41 years. Since several researchers
have noted that the working life patterns of female
Ph. D .’s closely resemble the career patterns of their
male peers,1 male separation rates2 were used for
the whole group.
A final adjustment was made for net immigration
of persons with doctorates from foreign universities.
A National Science Foundation (NSF) report on
foreign scientists and engineers was the basis of
these estimates.3
No adjustments w •„ made for unemployment
since such data are available for doctorate holders
for only 2 years, 1970 and 1971.4
Information on employer and primary work activi­
ty of new doctorate recipients is available from the
Doctorate Records Files beginning in 1957. Since
about 70 percent of the doctorates employed in 1972
received degrees after 1960, a distribution of activity
by employer based on data for this group is a good
indication of the characteristics of the whole group.
Averages which were computed by field for the 15year period became the basis for distributing the
1972 Ph. D. pool among the several employer
types and primary work activities. The final distri­
butions compared favorably with the 1970 NSF
National Register.
J See, for example, John K. Folger, Helen S. Astin, and
Alan E. Bayer, Human Resources and Higher Education (New
York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1970), pp. 288-94.
2Tomorrow’s Manpower Needs, Supplement 4, Bulletin 1606
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1974).
3 Scientists and Engineers from Abroad, 1962-64, NSF 67-3
(National Science Foundation, 1967).
4Unemployment Rates and Employment Characteristics for
Scientists and Engineers, 1971, NSF 72-307 (National Science
Foundation, 1972).




Justification for using reports of “ first post
doctoral employer” data to represent lifetime career
patterns is found in the National Research Council’s
(NRC) second report on a follow-up study of 10,000
doctorate holders from the classes of 1935, 1940,
1945, 1950, 1955, and 1960.5 NRC found that onehalf of the Ph. D .’s spent their careers in academic
employment and one-fourth in nonacademic employ­
ment. The remaining one-fourth were divided about
equally between those who switched from academic
to nonacademic jobs and those who switched in the
opposite direction.
After the total number of separations had been
deducted, an age distribution remained for those
employed in 1972 (table A-2). Based on this age
array and 1-year specific age group male separation
rates, an annual average separation rate of 0.8185
percent for doctorate holders during the 1932-72
period was computed.
B. Requirements, 1985
In order to have some basis for projecting trends
and patterns of Ph. D. workers, employment patterns
were developed for the 6 preceding years—1966,
1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971. The method used
was exactly the same as explained earlier for the
1972 estimate. However, because employer data were
not available until 1957 and because more new
doctorates are included in the computed average at
the end of the period than at any of its other
points, estimates for 1966 are less reliable than
those for 1972. This “ time series,” including 1972,
is shown in table A-3.
The greatest numbers of Ph. D .’s are employed by
educational institutions— broad classification includ­
a
ing 4-year colleges and universities, com m unity col­
leges, and elementary and secondary schools. To
project future demand in these three areas, it was
first necessary to break them out of the time series
estimates. The Doctorate Records Files distinguish
only “ colleges and universities” and “ elementary
and secondary schools.” Distributions fo rallP h .D .’s
in educational institutions were based on estimates
in two Office of Education reports.6 Alan Bayer’s
study provided a basis for developing community
college estimates.7
5Careers of Ph. D .’s Academic Versus Nonacademic, Publi­
cation 1577 (National Academy of Sciences, 1968).
6Numbers and Characteristics of Employees of Institutions of
Higher Education, 1966 and 1967 editions (U.S. Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education).
7Alan E. Bayer, College and University Faculty: A Statistical
Description, Vol. 5, No. 5, (Washington: American Council on
Education, 1970).

Percent

Number
(in thousands)

Age group

Table A-4. Percent distribution of Ph. D.’s employed by
educational institutions, 196672

Total.............

323.6

100.0

25-34......................
3544......................
45-54......................
55-64 .....................
65 and over............

179.9
91.2
32.7
17.6
2.2

Year

55.6
28.2
10.1
5.4
.7

These ratios were converted to numerical estimates
and applied to faculty data from the Office of Edu­
cation to produce ratios of Ph. D .’s to total faculty.
From these ratios, which were projected to 1985,
numerical estimates were developed. Subsequently,
these estimates were used as controls for the projec­
tions by field of Ph. D .’s in educational institutions.
The “ time series” observations became the basis
for developing trend lines and projections in each
field for each employer. Generally, the independent
variables were employment requirements projections
developed in the Bureau’s basic projection model
for 1985 and published in The U.S. Economy
in 1985, BLS Bulletin 1809. For example, Ph. D .’s
in engineering and natural science were related to
BLS projections of engineers and scientists, by field
and industry. Other Ph. D .’s in industry, govern­
ment, and nonprofit organizations were related to
total workers in closely related occupational groups,
e.g., social science was related to social scientists.
Table A-3. Estimated employment of Ph. D.’s, by field, 19G6-72
(in thousands)
Field

1966

1967

1968

1969

All fields........ 197.4 214.8 234.6 257.1
Engineering and
natural science....
Engineering......
Physical
science..........
Chemistry....
Physics.......
Life science.....
Mathematics....
Social science and
psychology..........
Psychology.......
Arts and
humanities..........
Education..............
Business and
commerce...........
Other fields............

1970

1971

1972

280.2 298.0 334.6

97.5 106.5 116.1 127.1
14.9 17.0 19.2 22.1

138.1
25.1

145.6
27.0

161.7
31.0

Total in all
educational
institutions

4-year colleges
and
universities

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

92.6
92.0
91.5
90.9
90.0
90.1
89.8

1966...........
1967...........
1968...........
1969...........
1970...........
1971...........
1972...........

1.6
1.8
1.9
2.0
2.4
2.9
3.3

5.8
6.2
6.7
7.1
7.6
7.1
6.9

Projections of Ph. D .’s in colleges and universities
were tied to degree projections for all levels in the
same field and were controlled by the previously
projected total faculty estimates. The resultant numeri­
cal estimates were aggregated.
C.

Openings, 1972-85

Projected openings during the 1972-85 period arise
from two components, growth and replacements.
Growth was determined by subtracting 1972 employ­
ment from 1985 projected requirements:
1985 requirements.................................................................................474,900
1972 employment................................................................................. 334,600
1972-85 growth............................................................................... 140,300
1972-85 annual average growth...................................................... 10,800

The second component of openings—
replacement
needs—
was estimated for the 1972-85 period in the
same manner as earlier for the 1932-72 period. A
1985 age distribution was computed, along with a
1985 annual average separation rate of 0.9739 per­
cent (table A-5).
Since replacement needs usually are computed on
an average employment figure or time period mid­
point estimate, the 1972 and 1985 annual average
separation rates were averaged to produce an esti-

42.0 '45.3
26.0 27.7
12.4 13.5
34.1 36.8
7.4
6;6

48.9
29.7
14.8
39.7
8.3

52.7
31.6
16.2
43.3
9.1

56.1
32.2
19.4
46.6
10.2

58.5
33.1
20.6
49.0
11.1

63.8
35.9
22.6
54.5
12.4

39.4
13.3

42.6
14.5

46.2/
15.8

50.7
17.3

54.8
18.8

57.6
20.1

63.8
22.7

Age group

22.7
31.2

24.5
34.1

26.7
37.6

29.0
41.5

31.2
46.5

33.9
50.4

38.8
58.3

2.6
4.0

2.8
4.4

3.3
4.5

3.6
5.2

4.2
5.5

4.5
6.1

5.4
6.7




Elementary
and
secondary
schools

Commu­
nity
colleges

Table A-5. Estimated age distribution of Ph. D.’s, 1985
Number
(in thousands)

Percent

Total.............

474.9

100.0

25-34......................
3544......................
45-54......................
55-64......................
65 and over............

117.3
204.2
109.7
33.7
10.0

24.7
43.0
23.1
7.1
2.1

mated separation rate of 0.8962 percent for the
1972-85 period.8 Thus:

(in thousands)

Field

All fields........
Engineering and
natural science....
Engineering......
Physical
science..........
Chemistry....
Physics.......
Life science.....
Mathematics....
Social science and
psychology..........
Psychology.......
Arts and
humanities..........
Education..............
Business and
commerce...........
Other fields............

U.S. Office
of Education
projected
degrees,
1972-73 to
1984-85

Losses to1 Additions
foreign
from
employers immigration

Estimated
supply,
1985

1972-85 midpoint employment................................................... 404,750
1972-85 midpoint annual average
separation rate........................................................................ 0.8962 percent
1972-85 annual average separations.......................................... 3,600

D.

609.1

38.7

13.0

233.6
53.9

19.4
4.0

10.2
.3

224.4
50.3

57.4
24.4
16.3
100.2
22.0

4.4
1.2
1.0
9.6
1.4

7.3
2.6
4.6
1.6
1.0

60.3
25.8
19.9
92.2
21.6

106.9
38.3

6.6
1.3

1.5
.7

101.8
37.7

82.4
154.5

3.4
5.8

.7
.1

79.6
148.8

20.6
11.1

1.6
1.8

.2
.4

19.2
9.7

Supply Estimates

583.4

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.




The supply estimates are based on the Office of
Education’s projections of earned doctorates devel­
oped in 1973.9 Based on historical data from the
Doctorate Records Files, the projected number of
new doctorate holders who are expected to leave
the United States to work for foreign employers was
subtracted. Increments, by field, have been added
to represent immigration of doctorate holders from
foreign universities. The distribution of immigrants
for 1972-85 was assumed to be the same as for
1932-72 (table A-6).
8For a further discussion of separation rates, see Tomor­
row’s Manpower Needs.
9Projections of Educational Statistics to 1982-83, 1973 Edi­
tion (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Office of Education). Projections for 1983-84 and 1984-85 are
from unpublished materials made available by the Office of
Education.

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