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Go8 Media Release: Group of Eight prioritises PhD / Industry disconnect

The Group of Eight (Go8), which represents Australia’s leading research intensive universities, has prioritised  strengthening the contribution of PhD graduates to industry in Australia in its agenda for 2017.

Senior teams from Go8 members met at Parliament House Canberra today for the first in a series of PhD management workshops.

“We are at the core of producing the majority of Australia’s PhDs, and the immense value they can deliver to an economy when working with and within industry, is not being recognised as it should be in Australia,” says Vicki Thomson Go8 Chief Executive.

“Today’s workshop heard from Associate Professor Inger Mewburn on emerging research that there is an unrecognised and unmet demand for PhD level skills in Australia’s job market. According to Associate Professor Mewburn “there is a hidden job market for PhD graduates in the Australian workforce. Only 20.7 per cent of over 13,000 non-academic job advertisements asked for a PhD qualification yet as many as 43 per cent of the unique jobs that were analysed required a high level of skills and capabilities indicative of a PhD,” said Ms Thomson.

“In other words we have to ensure that employers value and want to make use of the skills available to them from PhDs. We have to work to ensure far more companies understand what a well-rounded highly educated PhD can deliver for them in terms of problem solving and a boost to their bottom line,” she said.

“As Minister for Industry Greg Hunt has said ‘getting more PhDs into industry to help grow the economy, as they do so well in other countries such as the UK, and in Europe, is an extremely important focus for Australia’s university sector.’”

“The Go8 embraces that statement and is committed to find structures that enable it,” she said. “Today’s workshop has laid the groundwork for an ambitious project for 2017.”

Contact:  Vicki Thomson Go8 Chief Executive (+61) 407 808 472

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