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March 22, 2009

Ph.D. graduates become super-educated working poor

images.jpegAccording to a report by the Asahi Shimbun, the majority of Ph.D. graduates in Japan do not have stable jobs and many have very low incomes. It is not unusual for them to be earning around 1.5 million yen a year. Many are working part-time in insecure jobs and may also have to pay off student loans.

The report states, 'It was not so long ago that people with Ph.D.s ranked alongside government ministers at the very pinnacle of social strata. Now they are a dime a dozen.' The number of Ph.D. students has greatly increased over the last 20 years. In 1991 there were 29,911 students enrolled in Ph.D. programs. In 2007 there were 74,811.

This increase occurred while the number of teaching and research positions was declining. To make matters worse, many corporations are not very positive about employing Ph.D. graduates. One spokesman said, 'Ph.D. graduates have a very high level of expertise, but many of them have poor communication skills and know too little about matters outside their particular field.'

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