Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Monday August 19th 2019

PhD holder graduated in July 2016 but still jobless and depressed

Hi Melissa,

I am in the exact same situation as you graduating in July 2016 with my PhD. Most of my job application sent out was met with no replies especially positions involving managerial roles (even assistant manager). I have landed a few interviews with companies on roles involving my major but with no replies.

I do not know why HR/hiring managers overlook people such as us who are likely qualified for the roles that you have described. I believe it is something entrenched in their systematic search and it is causing a group of people to fall out of their radar immediately.

I have went to some employment seminar late last year and a question raised to the panel was “Will you consider a PhD for the role of a bachelors/masters with 1-4year experience?” The panel of HR managers had an immediate reply of “No.” I wonder, why deny qualified people who are seriously considering the role? Is there no room for opportunity?

Dear Gilbert, thanks for the website setup to support the people left out. I am also keen to know your view on this topic.



Hi K

I believe employers tend to view PhD holders as very academic and book-smart but lacking in work experience.

What they need is someone who can work and not just full of the academic stuff in their head.

Moreover, PhD holders may want a much higher salary than say a degree holder effectively moving them out of the possible-hiring list.

Perhaps, you can opt for a teaching career whereby PhD will be held in higher regard. I also feel that the kind of PhD you have is also crucial for job searching as a doctorate in science is obviously held in higher regard than say a doctorate in philosophy.

Or the next time you apply for a job, remove the PhD and just apply for jobs with your bachelor degree and see how the reply turns out.

Take care and all the best ahead.

Gilbert Goh

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2 Responses to “PhD holder graduated in July 2016 but still jobless and depressed”

  1. Kecia McCoy, PhD says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. I have been unemployed for 1 year and 8 months. I am depressed. I am in the process of losing my home and I had to file bankruptcy. Also, I need government assistance to eat.

    I took off the PhD and applied for several position. Guess what…I didn’t get the jobs because they stated that I was deceitful because I did not state all my degrees.

    Last, if a person is qualified and has proven he/she has the skills to do a job, they should be offered it.

    I don’t know what to do as I am qualified and can’t get a job. I will be homeless before the end of the year.

  2. Matt says:

    Please allow me to comment….I believed with your PhD you could easily get work outside SGP with good salary…are you not looking at this option…both Melissa and K, it makes me wonder and ponder over what you have said like there are no roads for you guys at all…I see there is ONE Golden road for you…go overseas make the money…if you still want to come back to SGP its your call.

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