-Lauren Fredericks and Charlie Radcliffe
Mainstream media has been reporting that there has been an employment crisis within the doctoral graduate community. That being said, there has been an overall decrease in unemployment of college graduates with doctoral degrees since 2012. This trend differs between gender, as shown by the graphs below.
An important part of these graphs to note are the specific peaks and valleys of the data, specifically how the timing differs for men and women. For example, the major peak in unemployment levels for men occurs in December of 2011, whereas for women it occurs in January of 2012. Because male unemployment declines by January, it can be inferred that the rise in female unemployment was, in part, caused by the increased employment of men. Similarly, in the case of September 2014, the level of unemployment for men is at a peak, where the level of unemployment for women is at a valley. Although it makes sense that when a man is hired for a specific position, a woman is not hired for that position (and vice versa), this does not explain why the levels of unemployment for women are altogether higher than those for men.
The maximum number of unemployed men is the same for women (December 2011 and January 2012, respectively: 49,000), however the minimum number of unemployed men (April 2017: 4,000) is smaller than the number of women (September 2014: 8,000). Part of this can be explained by the volume of women with doctorates when compared to men: in 2016, 52.1% of people who graduated with a doctorate were women1. Additionally, even though women outnumber men in seven out of eleven doctoral fields, women enter fields of lower demand. These factors contribute to the higher rate of competition among women and their consequential unemployment. These structural factors perpetuate the cyclical nature of unemployment rates of women within the doctoral graduate community.
1Perry, Mark J. "Women Earned Majority of Doctoral Degrees in 2016 for Eighth Straight Year and Outnumber Men in Grad School 135 to 100." American Enterprise Institute. 28 Sep. 2017.