A study released by the School of Graduate Studies revealed that PhD graduates are more likely to end up employed at post-secondary institutions than in all other sectors combined.

The study analyzed the employment status of 88 per cent of the 10,886 PhDs who graduated from U of T from 2000–2015, across all academic divisions. Of those analyzed, 59 per cent attained positions in post-secondary institutions after graduation, while the rest found employment in the private and public sectors, non-profit organizations, or in independent businesses. Only four PhD graduates were unemployed.

However, this trend was not uniform across the board. While close to eight in 10 Humanities PhDs ended up in academia, just less than half of Physical Sciences PhDs chose this path; 40 per cent were employed in the private sector. Of those PhDs who were employed in post-secondary education, about half were in tenure-track positions. Fourteen per cent of graduates were postdoctoral fellows, and approximately four per cent ended up in teaching-stream positions. Many ended up doing research and teaching at U of T, York University, Ryerson University, and McMaster University.

PhDs in the private sector either established their own enterprises or found jobs at Google, Intel, or the Royal Bank of Canada, among others. In the public sector, they mostly worked in hospitals or in the government, and in the charitable sector, they tended to work at health-related non-profits, such as the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Ontario Brain Institute.

The data also revealed significant changes in the composition of the PhD student body. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of U of T PhD graduates per year almost doubled, from 494 to 901, and the amount of non-citizen PhD graduates also doubled. On the other hand, gender composition of the PhD student body over that time has been stable, varying slightly from a 50-50 split. The majority of PhD students — 85 per cent on average — were Canadian citizens and permanent residents.