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A Machine Learning Analysis of the Non- academic Employment Opportunities for Ph.D. Graduates in Australia

Mewburn, Inger; Grant, Will; Suominen, Hanna; Kizimchuk, Stephanie

Description

Can Australia's PhD graduates be better utilised in the non-academic workforce? There has been a historic structural decline in the ability of PhD graduates to find work within academia for the last couple of decades (Forsyth 2014). Around 60% of PhD graduates in Australia now find jobs outside the academy, and the number is growing year on year (McGagh et al. 2016). The PhD is a degree designed in the early 20th century to credential the academic workforce. How to make it fit contemporary...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMewburn, Inger
dc.contributor.authorGrant, Will
dc.contributor.authorSuominen, Hanna
dc.contributor.authorKizimchuk, Stephanie
dc.date.accessioned2018-07-31T02:09:49Z
dc.identifier.citationMewburn, I., Grant, W.J., Suominen, H. et al. High Educ Policy (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-018-0098-4
dc.identifier.issn1740-3863
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/145808
dc.description.abstractCan Australia's PhD graduates be better utilised in the non-academic workforce? There has been a historic structural decline in the ability of PhD graduates to find work within academia for the last couple of decades (Forsyth 2014). Around 60% of PhD graduates in Australia now find jobs outside the academy, and the number is growing year on year (McGagh et al. 2016). The PhD is a degree designed in the early 20th century to credential the academic workforce. How to make it fit contemporary needs, when many if not most graduates do not work in academia, is a question that must be addressed by higher education managers and policymakers. Progress has been slow, partly because of the lack of reliable data-driven evidence to inform this work. This paper puts forward a novel hybrid quantitative/qualitative approach to the problem of analysing PhD employability. We report on a project using machine learning (ML) and natural language processing to perform a 'big data' analysis on the text content of non-academic job advertisements. This paper discusses the use of ML in this context and its future utility for researchers. Using these methods, we performed an analysis of the extent of demand for PhD student skills and capabilities in the Australian employment market. We show how these new methods allow us to handle large, complex datasets, which are often left unexplored because of human labour costs. This analysis could be reproduced outside of the Australian context, given an equivalent dataset. We give an outline of our approach and discuss some of the advantages and limitations. This paper will be of interest for those involved in re-shaping PhD programs and anyone interested in exploring new machine learning methods to inform education policy work.
dc.description.sponsorshipThe project team would like to thank the Australian Department of Industry and Seek.com.au for their generous support of this project.
dc.format15 pages
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherPalgrave
dc.rights© International Association of Universities 2018. http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0952-8733/ Post-print on institutional repository or funding body's repository after a 12 months embargo period (Sherpa/Romeo 31/7/2018).
dc.sourceHigher Education Policy
dc.source.urihttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41307-018-0098-4
dc.subjectmachine learning, higher education policy, doctoral education, PhD, graduate employability
dc.titleA Machine Learning Analysis of the Non- academic Employment Opportunities for Ph.D. Graduates in Australia
dc.typeJournal article
dc.date.issued2018-07-04
local.identifier.absfor080107
local.identifier.absfor130103
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/journal/41307
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationMewburn, Inger, CHL General, CAP School of Culture, History and Language, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationSuominen, Hanna, Research School of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationKizimchuk, Stephanie, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, CASS Research School of Humanities and the Arts, The Australian National University
local.description.embargo2019-07-05
dc.relation32937
local.identifier.doihttps://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-018-0098-4
local.identifier.absseoANZSRC
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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