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International PhD graduates are landing jobs in Denmark

The number of International PhDs in Denmark is increasing. And two thirds of them find jobs in Denmark after studying here, reports think tank

One third of all PhDs in Denmark are now international, and the international PhD numbers have increased sevenfold in the last two decades. Almost 70% of them end up landing jobs in Denmark, according to a new analysis by Copenhagen think tank DEA.

Jobwise, the international PhDs end up on an equal, or better, footing than their Danish counterparts if they choose to remain in Denmark.

In 1995, 110 PhDs were enrolled in Denmark, compared to 727 in 2012, making up a third of the total PhD student population. Between 1996-2011, 1,400 international PhD graduates were still in Denmark one year after graduating.

International PhDs a brain gain

The good employment prospects for international PhDs is the most important part of the study, as they represent a brain gain for Denmark.

From a Danish perspective, it is not just about retaining good PhDs, says head of research at DEA Martin Junge. It is about maintaining a pool of relevant candidates for Danish jobs.

“Research is so specialised nowadays, that you can’t just educate the Danes to fill the spots that are there. In other words, you need instead to build up a capacity. And the better the pool of candidates in this capacity, the better the outcome,” he says.

“Denmark is too small to have a basic capacity on its own, and attracting and retaining PhDs is just as important as attracting assistant professors and professors,” Martin Junge says.

Internationals match the Danish salaries

The top five home countries of international PhD graduates in Denmark are China, Germany, Italy, Poland and Iran.

PhDs are “increasingly expected to find work in the private sector” says Stina Vrang Elias, Administration Director at DEA.

A third of PhDs find work in the private sector, with international PhDs generally matching the salaries of their Danish counterparts.

More into research

However, international Phds are more likely than their Danish counterparts to end up working in research rather than the private sector.

Read the analysis (in Danish) here.

See also the University Post PhD Survey 2014.

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