Although the supply of doctorate holders exceeds demand at present, Taiwan is likely to face a talent deficit within the next 10 years, the National Science Council (NSC) said yesterday.
According to a report presented by the Ministry of Education to the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee, the unemployment rate of doctoral graduates in their first year after graduating is about 5 percent, higher than the average unemployment rate among young people in Taiwan.
As people with a PhD degree are having difficulties finding a job, the application rates for doctoral programs in top-ranking universities have been dwindling rapidly in recent years.
The total number of people who applied to the nation’s top four top-ranking universities’ doctoral programs this year has dropped to less than half the number in 2009, the report said.
“There is an increasing gap between education and employment, a large gap between the supply and demand of talent with higher education degrees,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said yesterday.
The NSC’s report said there is a large supply of doctorate holders, because many doctoral graduates wish to work at universities or research facilities, but these positions are mostly full at the moment.
However, NSC Deputy Minister Mou Chung-yuan (牟中原) said the council estimates that the nation will encounter a talent deficit within the next 10 years, because of lower fertility rates, reduced doctoral program application rates and an increased talent outflow.
He said that the number of students who entered university as freshmen last year -decreased by about 34 percent this year.
The number of people who applied for doctoral programs at top universities — National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, National Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University — dropped from 5,636 people in 2009 to 2,681 this year.