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Non-academic employment and matching satisfaction among PhD graduates with high intersectoral mobility potential

Vincenzo Alfano (Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy)
Giuseppe Gaeta (Human and Social Sciences, University of Naples L'Orientale, Naples, Italy)
Mauro Pinto (Political Science, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Caserta, Italy)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 9 March 2021

Issue publication date: 29 September 2021




This paper contributes to the empirical analysis of PhD holders' transition into the non-academic labor market (i.e. their intersectoral mobility). The research focuses on doctoral graduates specialized in a field of study supposed to have notable non-academic applications, namely Industrial and Information Engineering. We inspect whether these doctoral graduates experience lower satisfaction with PhD knowledge use on the job when they work outside universities and non-public research centers.


We use cross-sectional survey data collected by the Italian National Institute of Statistics in 2014. Ordinary least squares and ordered logit analyses provide baseline results; furthermore, we apply a multinomial endogenous treatment model to control for potential bias arising from self-selection into employment sectors.


We find evidence that for PhD holders Industrial and Information Engineering being employed in the industrial and services sector implies lower satisfaction with the use of doctoral knowledge than that reported by their counterparts working in universities or public research centers.


These results complement and extend previous evidence about PhD holders' career outcomes by focusing on the intersectoral mobility issue and on a specific group of doctoral graduates whose intersectoral mobility potential is expected to be high. Our findings call for policies that might trigger a better alignment between doctoral education and non-academic jobs.



Alfano, V., Gaeta, G. and Pinto, M. (2021), "Non-academic employment and matching satisfaction among PhD graduates with high intersectoral mobility potential", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 7, pp. 1202-1223.



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