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The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Engagement (Professor Sibusiso Moyo) in partnership with the Division of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted a DUT Talk on the employability of PhDs in corporate South Africa, held at Ritson Campus, on 14 November 2019.

Delivering the key note address was Head of Digital for Standard Bank Wealth and Director of Strategy at Starcom Media Vest Group South Africa, Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka who holds a PhD in Marketing Management and is currently doing her second PhD on platform-based business and customer experiences in e-commerce modelled on exponential organisations.

Dr Geneos-Malka presented on a recent study on the labour dynamics of South Africa’s Highest academic degree(PhD), permanently employed by leading companies that drive the South African economy, focusing in the year 2014 vs 2017.

The study shows that in the year 2014, in 350 companies only 995 employees were PhD graduates out of 1.4million employees that were surveyed and in the year 2017 with more than 6000 new PhD holders, only 809 of them were employed.

“There is a big drop in the employability of PhD’s throughout the years and only 21percent of PhD graduates are working in their specific discipline that they had studied their PhD in. This is really a challenge because people spend over 10years studying plus starting off with their undergraduate studies and a postgraduate studies,” said Dr Geneos-Malka.

She further focused on the barriers to employment for PhD’s. She said in her findings, PhD holders said they have encountered situations where they are told, they won’t get a job because they are overqualified, they are beyond advanced in academia, they are over technical, they are going to ask for too much money and they won’t stay for long in a company because as soon as there is a better offer they will leave.

“I believe these are all myths from the corporate sector, it all goes back to specifications and requirements in the corporate world. There is a low percentage of Job vacancies that require a PhD which often results to PhD graduates being regarded as overqualified,” said Dr Geneos-Malka.

She added that although the PhD throughout is increasing each year, the proportion of South Africans graduating from South African institutions needs to be greater to fulfil NDP expectations, illustrating that in South Africa only 55% of PhD graduates in 2016 were South Africans and 45% were not south African.

“The study shows that 40-45% of PhD graduates are foreigners, as per Council of Higher Education (CHE) data, it is reasonable to believe these individuals return to their home country after graduation which greatly affects the South African economy,” she said.

In her closing remarks, Dr Geneos-Malka said moving forward, there is a greater need to source ways of absorbing PhD’s to the economy.

Pictured: Director of Strategy at Starcom Media Vest Group South Africa, Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka and DUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor:Research, Innovation & Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo.

Nomfundo Ngcobo

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