Higher education research


Supply, demand and approaches to employment by people with postgraduate research qualifications in science and mathematics: Final Report

Publication Date



Report to the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations


This is the final report bringing together knowledge and understanding of issues relating to the supply, demand and employment outcomes for people with higher degree research (HDR) qualifications in science and mathematics.

The report highlights a number of key findings from the overall project. They are:

* Australia has a growing supply of people with HDR science and mathematics qualifications. However, university completions in the science and mathematics fields is below that in non-scientific disciplines.

* Consultations and case studies suggest that the demand for HDR qualifications in science and mathematics fields is low within private industry.

* There is an increasing recognition of the need for multidisciplinary expertise in science fields, especially where one area of expertise involves a quantitative discipline.

* Within the academic workforce, demand is influenced by issues of impending retirements.

* Employment outcomes for HDR graduates in the science and mathematics fields in Australia are relatively positive.

* Despite positive figures relating to employment outcomes, there is much room for improvement in employment prospects for young scientists and mathematicians.

* The future of HDR qualifications in science and mathematics is of crucial importance to sustaining a strong knowledge economy in Australia. In order to increase supply and maintain quality in these disciplines, it is important to:

o continue supporting the promotion of science at all levels of schooling and across the wider community

o encourage greater collaboration between universities and industry (particularly private industry)

o support universities to continue their role in education provision at the higher degree level as well as in undergraduate studies.