2 November 2020

CREST has over the past three weeks launched the largest national tracer survey of doctoral graduates who received their degrees at a South African university since 2000. This is the first comprehensive study of its kind which aims to gain a deeper understanding of South African doctoral graduates’ career trajectories after they complete their degrees. The study is of strategic importance given the government’s efforts to ensure optimal employability of all doctoral graduates, as well as the need to understand the changing demands of the labour market. In addition, the study aims to find whether South Africa’s doctoral graduates have the required attributes to fare well in their future careers.  More specific sections of the survey focus on whether doctoral graduates found employment that aligned with their studies, whether their doctoral students prepared them well for their subesequent careers and what types of graduate attributes turned out to be most critical for their subsequent career decisions. We also ask questions related to the mobility of doctoral graduates – whether they moved between sectors of employment as well as from South Africa to other countries and back.

This study is underwritten and funded by the Department of Science and Innovation, with the support of the National Research Foundation, the Water Research Commission, the Department of Higher Education and Training and Universities South Africa.

The web-based survey which is currently being conducted is scheduled to be complete by the end of year. This will be followed by a phase of individual indepth interviews with 200 respondents over the first three months of 2021. The final results of the study should be available towards September 2021 and will be widely disseminated – also to those who have participated in the survery and interviews.

Any queries about this project may be directed to Prof Johann Mouton (jm6@sun.ac.za) or Mr Charl Albertyn (chalbertyn@sun.ac.za).