• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Ph.D. versus master’s degree: Which makes better career in workplace?

Ph.D. versus master’s degree: Which makes better career in workplace?

In the journey of life, it is believed that the right train of thought will certainly take a man to a better station.

Little wonder John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of knowing you did your best that you are capable of being.”

Hence, it is imperative that before deciding whether to pursue a Ph.D. after completing a master’s degree, one should carefully consider several factors.

There are many noble academic reasons for undertaking a doctorate, but does having a Ph.D. provide any career advantages a master’s degree does not?

Busayo Aderounmu, a lecturer at Covenant University, Ota-Ogun State speaking on the benefits inherent in the two degrees, said that it depends on the workplace.

“If it is an academic or research institute, then a Ph.D. will offer more career advantage. This is not often so in other workplaces as a Ph.D. may make you overqualified for the job,” she said.

“For jobs that require having a Ph.D., then possession of a doctorate is of great advantage because such people are considered as experts in their field.

“Academic Ph.D. offer better opportunities and pay than masters. It also increases innovation and creativity,” she added.

Stanley Alaubi, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, explained that in the tertiary institutions’ workplace, having a Ph.D. is a great requirement.

Different jobs require different skill sets. Hence, a Ph.D. preferred position is going to require a skill set typical of a doctorate.

Experts believe that what makes Ph.D. degree holders unique is that they specialise in large, open-ended projects which take many years and do not have a clear outcome initially.

Positions for people with master’s degrees do not require conducting novel research.

They say, although the more common skills developed during a Ph.D. will be useful, the specialised skills required for any particular doctorate are largely useless outside of academia.

However, there are a lot of other skills a Ph.D. holder could develop in pursuit of his degree that could be useful in many workplaces.

Commenting on the place of Ph.D. in the workplace, Naomi Tyrrel, a research consultant, and ICF career coach for researchers said, “If you’re not sure that you want an academic career, doing a master’s and then moving into the industry rather than jumping straight into a PhD is a sensible course of action for people from any discipline.”

A 2023 London School of Economics study analysed a decade’s worth of UK Labour Force Surveys and found that Ph.D. holders earn more, on average, than their master’s counterparts.

Despite candidates with a master’s being likely to enter the workforce at least four years earlier, Ph.D. holders earn an average of £1.60 (about N2,779.54) to £3.10 ( about N5,385.35) per hour more.

However, Jamie Pei, an expert in women’s studies from the UK’s University of York stressed that having a doctorate gives a candidate room to learn how to do critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation; and not take knowledge for granted but learning to always explore and consider other perspectives and approaches, which are key factors in workplace success.

“Another key difference between the two is in the level of independent thinking and working required. Nobody’s going to tell you how to do the Ph.D.

The point of a programme and research at this level is to figure out how to do the work without being handheld,” she adds.

Besides, she disclosed that Ph.D. holders are likely to do better in areas of time management, productivity, and learning to work efficiently without overworking or burning out.

Experts argue that the work and attributes required to pass a Ph.D. can build an invaluable skill set that few others in the job market have. However, the question of whether it will do more for his/her career than a master’s depends largely on his/her sector, role, and career goals.

Hence, it is could be said, and rightly too, that individuals must know what they want before embarking on academic degree acquisitions because career success is beyond the accumulation of degrees.

Sometimes, getting a diploma or being chartered is more beneficial in the workplace than a doctorate or master’s degree.