We often hear that many businesses avoid hiring PhDs and prefer hiring those with a Masters degree for various reasons. At the face of it, it sounds quite odd that employers keep away from more highly qualified aspirants and make do with lesser qualified applicants. However, there’s more to it than just the fact that employers have to offer more pay to applicants with higher degrees.
There are many myths floating around hiring PhDs. We try to unravel two common myths to see if they hold any water.
Myth 1: PhDs are used to working independently. They’ll find it difficult working with a team. The fact is that almost all PhDs have to work with other scholars on various projects. Research statistics reveal that except in Math, single-authored papers were relatively rare in most fields even as long ago as 1975. This implies that PhDs invariably have to collaborate with other scholars in order to get published. This involves not only sharing resources but also being a part of several discussions and brainstorming sessions. This makes PhDs more than qualified to work with and successfully coordinate with teams.
The fact that they’re independent implies that they can work with minimal supervision. PhDs don’t require micromanagement. They can think on their feet and wriggle out of difficult situations. Remember that PhDs are typically the brightest students in school and college – not everyone goes on to do a PhD. Roughly 2% of the population has a PhD degree. In essence, PhDs represent the cream of the population, and hiring a PhD means you’ve automatically chosen to hire the best of the lot.
Myth 2: PhDs are too academia minded, and they will not work out in the industry. Yes, the fact remains that most PhDs dream of tenure track faculty positions within academia as their ultimate career goal. However, times have changed and so have realities. Although every other career stream is perceived as a secondary and an “alternative career,” a very small percentage of PhDs actually end up with tenure track positions. For example, only 14% of PhDs in Biology and the Life Sciences land an academic position within the first five years. So, in essence, academia is actually an alternative career, and an increasing number of PhD graduates are making their presence felt in the industry.
Businesses that are hiring PhD experts are feeling the difference and making huge strides in innovation. With the exponential growth of the digital landscape, a lot of things are witnessing a never-before change. Though not directly related but an increasing number of PhD graduates are now launching their own startups, and they’re doing an excellent job at that! The bedrock of every startup lies in constant innovation, and PhDs specialize in creating new information and exploring the unexplored. Hire a PhD to experience the difference.
I’d also like to invite comments from employers and PhD graduates on other prevalent myths about hiring PhDs.