Raging debate over MSc graduates poaching jobs from PhD scholars

As the postgraduate level research is increasingly getting popular, the most affected lot is the PhD scholars, who find it cumbersome to get into corporate jobs, thus pushing them to the sole option of teaching, says a TOI report. PhD scholars have the requisite wherewithal in their chosen domain – this is, in fact, a Damocles sword as it can trigger advantage as well as the disadvantage for the doctoral and postdoctoral scholars considering most of the corporates are looking forward to all-rounders. Thus the only option left for PhD scholars are teaching, noted the report.

CS Murali, chairperson, entrepreneurship cell, Society for Innovation and Development (SID), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, was quoted as saying by the report, “Teaching is the most common job that one opts for after PhD in India as it allows one to continue the research alongside the job. Students who wish to do any different often go abroad since the corporate and government have only recently started looking at research as a separate arena.”

Intense competition

With a burgeoning and cohesive focus on research at postgraduate degrees, even the MSc graduates are well prepared to carry research-related jobs, further curtailing the job opportunities for PhD scholars, said the report. “Employers want to fill the posts by employing people demanding less salary. While a PhD scholar might have in-depth knowledge, MSc students who are good in research methodology and related skills are usually hired in the R&D departments incorporates. Ideally, there is a requirement of 2-3 PhD scholars and around 6-7 MSc graduates in an R&D department, but experienced postgraduate students end up with the top jobs as well,” he said.

Data collected from Shine.com shows that around 1, 88,483 PhD candidates are currently searching for jobs on the portal. Out of which, 38,857 candidates have been actively seeking for positions since last one year, according to the report.

Jobs for PhD Scholars

According to data, research and development (R&D) and academics are the most prominent positions available for PhD scholars. But are recruiters going for MSc graduates over PhD scholars? Zairus Master, CEO, Shine.com told TOI, “Trained professionals who know how to create information, not just repackage it, are desperately needed across industries. Entrepreneurship and innovation are at an all-time high. In such a scenario, having PhD offers an advantage to candidates as a PhD is proof of a candidate’s knowledge and abilities to think in an insightful way.”

Githa Heggde, dean, research and international affairs, IFIM told the daily, “Every corporate has an R&D department which can be a good option for both MSc and PhD holders. Those with good experience along with the degree are always preferred for the job.”

However, getting on-job experience is often a challenge for PhD scholars. “It is hard for PhD students to get experience while working because of the strict attendance rules. This puts us in a fix while negotiating for the job,” said Ishita Manna, a PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

“By the time, a student completes PhD, he/she is 30. By that age, one has high expectations, and one does not want a package offered to a fresh MSc graduate. If after having a doctorate we are being offered a job of Rs 30,000 per month which even a postgraduate student can get then there is no use in doing the PhD. Since we bring expertise to the table and hence need better pay,” she added.

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