Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology for educational affairs says 20,000 Ph.D. holders in Iran are unemployed and jobless.
Dr. Mojtaba Shariati Niasar has also noted that 100,000 students are currently studying for a Ph.D., but only 4,000 of them have been employed by the universities, so far.
The ministry of Science is not responsible for creating jobs, Shariati Niasar has insisted, noting, "but it can increase the students' potential for employment by expanding their capabilities."
Earlier on December 13, the deputy governor for economic affairs and development of human resources in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, Yadollah Mehralizadeh had announced, "Out of 3.5 million unemployed persons across Iran, 30% to 35% are university graduates."
Nevertheless, the Planning and Management Organization (PMO) begs to differ, insisting that the number is much higher.
“42 percent of unemployed people in Iran have a university degree, and huge sums of money have been spent on their education,” said PMO Deputy for Social Development Sa’eed Namaki last April, adding that unemployment among university graduates leads many to leave the country in search of opportunities.
“We are facing a grave problem, and we have to address it fundamentally to stop elite Iranians from leaving the country,” said Namaki.
The head of Azad University in 2017, Farhad Rahbar had also warned about 20,000 students at the Ph.D. level in the university's nationwide colleges with no prospect of employment.
"We do not need an army of (unemployed) students anymore," Rahbar, who was sacked last August, had grumbled.
Iran's inefficient economic system has had anemic growth in the past 40 years since the 1979 revolution, while the population has more than doubled. Lack of foreign investment, mismanagement and nepotism has restricted job growth in the country, compounded by international sanctions.
Furthermore, a local website, Eqtesad Online reported last year that there were more than 204,000 persons in Iran that hold Ph.D. or Masters degree, but have no jobs.
Based on a report compiled by the Statistical Center of Iran, the majority of employed people in Iran carry high school diplomas and pre-university (college)degrees.
However, those who hold a Ph.D. are the least employed individuals among the people with jobs in the country.
State-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) has also reported that those with degrees in Computer Science top the table of unemployed graduates with 41.14 percent unemployment, followed by graduates in Environment (37.6 percent), Arts (28 percent), and Physics (27.8 percent), while graduates of Veterinary Science are at the bottom of the table with the lowest unemployment.
Meanwhile, the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) reports the rate of unemployment in the last Iranian year (ending March 20, 2017) for the country as a whole at 12.1 percent. The unemployment rate among 15 to 29-year-olds was 25.3 percent.
However, many analysts believe the actual unemployment rates in Iran are much higher than what is reported by the SCI.
Despite the high degree of unemployment among university graduates in Iran, Shariati Niasar has previously boasted about the high number of students with higher education in the country.
During a visit to a higher education center in the city of Shirvan in North Khorasan on Tuesday, July 10, Shariati Niasar said that each year over 5,000 students graduate in the field of engineering in Iran, which is almost the same number of graduates in the field in the United States.
In the meantime, a report compiled by Iran’s parliament from December 2017 highlights the fact that unemployment among female graduates is disproportionately higher.