Increasing number of Wageningen PhD graduates, women graduates, and international careers

Press release

Increasing number of Wageningen PhD graduates, women graduates, and international careers

Published on
February 6, 2018

Wageningen University & Research graduates are finding careers internationally more often. Additionally, a growing number of women are graduating and a significantly larger number of alumni are earning their doctorates in Wageningen or elsewhere. This information comes from the Career Monitor, which is released every five years and since 1973, has kept track of the positions of graduates in the labour market via questionnaires. The Career Monitor is a joint publication from Wageningen University & Research and the Wageningen alumni association KLV, and was created in collaboration with IVA Onderwijs (an educational research organisation) in Tilburg.

At the end of 2016, The Career Monitor was sent to 26,787 MSc or PhD graduates from 1975 and after. Out of these graduates, 35.5% responded. The analysis of the processed questionnaires shows that since 1970, the percentage of women has gradually increased to an average of 59 percent (graduated between 2011-2015). In 1970, this was still 16%. The differences between female and male alumni in the youngest category (graduated in 2011-2015) are small: Women work part time more often than men, but do work at the same level.

More alumni with PhDs

A growing number of WUR alumni leave the university with a doctoral title (Dr), also known as a PhD. At the end of 2016, PhD candidates make up roughly one quarter of the just-graduated alumni. More and more alumni are obtaining their PhDs abroad, even those with the Dutch nationality. Between 1970 and 2015, the percentage of alumni with the Dutch nationality that completed a PhD abroad grew from 8% to 27%.

Internationalisation is on the rise

Since the 1970s, the percentage of graduates with a non-Dutch nationality has grown to an average of 43% of those graduated between 2011-2015. The international character of the university also has an effect on the work locations of its alumni. Of the alumni with the Dutch nationality, 13% work abroad, while 44% of foreign alumni work outside of their country of origin. 14% of foreign alumni work in the Netherlands. Alumni with the non-Dutch nationality tend to perform (or have performed) paid administrative secondary activities over two times as often as Dutch alumni (18% versus 8%).

70% have a job by the time they graduate

At the end of 2016, 84% of alumni had a paid job (12 hours per week or more). In the 2011-2015 period, roughly 70% already had a job by the time of graduation. Recent graduates seeking employment typically require about five months to find a job. Three percent of them are involuntarily unemployed. Nearly a third of alumni, 32%, have a permanent position within one year of graduating. After five years, that percentage is doubled (64%).

Over a quarter of them work in the Gelderland province, about 11% in Noord-Brabant, and roughly half in the Randstad (a megalopolis covering the metropolitan areas of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht). Half of them work in the business community and a quarter say that they do not, or rarely, use the specialised knowledge from their degree programmes in their current work. Nearly all alumni start with salaries and as work experience increases, so does the number of independent entrepreneurs and freelancers. In the case of alumni with more than 25 years of work experience, one in five is self-employed.

What do graduates earn?

The (partly) self-employed or freelance graduates initially earn a bit less than their salaried colleagues, but overtake them after about ten years of experience. The gross annual salary after 25 years of experience is approximately €90,000 (self-employed) and €78,000 (salaried). PhD graduates earn about as much as those without PhDs. Half of the alumni work in organisations with more than 500 employees.