Rise in number of teachers pursuing PhD qualification

Teaching appears to be among the leading professions in terms of members pursuing doctoral qualifications, based on analysis of Census 2016 data.

The biggest proportional rise in people with PhDs is in education — up 56% from 668 in 2011 to 1,047.

Most of this increase is accounted for by women who have earned doctoral qualifications, up 77% from 368 to 650. The number of men with an education-related PhD rose 32% from 300 to 397.

This may be linked to teachers pursuing further qualifications to increase their chances of promotion to principal positions, or to focus on areas such as special education, or leading a school’s work in areas such as literacy and numeracy.

There has been an almost even rise in numbers of men and women with PhDs in science, maths, and computing — 900 to 1,000 more of each hold such a qualification, making it the biggest category of PhD-holders from nine subject areas.

The 10,056 people with doctoral degrees in science, maths, or computing in 2016 was 24% higher than in 2011.

While it is the smallest proportionate increase, the fall in unemployment rates for this category of PhD — from 4.2% to 3.1% — is one of the most significant.

There was a bigger drop in unemployment rates for those with a PhD in engineering, manufacturing, or construction-related disciplines. It almost halved from 4.1% in 2011 to 2.2%, perhaps reflecting confidence in sustained investment in capital projects.

There were just over 2,500 people with a doctoral qualification under the headings of engineering, manufacturing, and construction, up 28% from 1,961 five years earlier.

The other significant unemployment rate to fall is among the 3,662 people who have a PhD in arts or humanities subjects.

Although 4.7% of them in the labour force were not working, that is down from almost 6% in 2011, when there were 2,848 people with such qualifications.

The number of people with a doctorate qualification in social sciences, business, or law was 4,966. That is up 45% from 3,430 since 2011 but the rise was far more significant among women, who now outnumber men with PhDs in these combined categories.

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