“PhD recipients should feel confident in their career potential, especially if they are willing to look beyond universities. ‘All of our language in academia encourages researchers to be academics,’ she says. ‘The challenge is getting over this psychological barrier to help researchers look more widely in terms of employment. There are some great jobs out there.'” (source)
A recent article in Nature discusses the job outcomes of PhD graduates and concludes that, by and large, PhD graduates report a high level of job satisfaction.
PhD graduates tend to imagine they will lead academic careers; however, the majority (70-80%) end up working in industry, Government and the private sector.
While many people with PhDs will end up changing course from their original career plan, the studies discussed in the article reveal this has not eroded career satisfaction.
Researchers who have been tracking the journeys of PhD graduates conclude that the main takeaway from these studies is that people with doctorates are leading rewarding careers, many of which are in niches that did not exist 15 years ago.