Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Sources:Insee
MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

The data presented here are definitive and are taken from the special survey of researchers and research and development (R&D) engineers in business enterprises in 2011, a 2-yearly addition to the annual survey of R&D expenditure in business enterprises. R&D researchers and engineers are counted as physical persons. All researchers and R&D engineers present on 31 December (or at the end of the accounting period) and working on R&D projects (exclusively or partially) count as 1.

In business enterprises, researchers and engineers in R&D are scientists and engineers engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems (including doctoral students with funding who are paid by the company, for example, like those with an Industrial Agreement for Training through Research (Convention industrielle de formation par la recherche - CIFRE)), and high-level personnel responsible for research teams.

Engineering sciences 1 includes in particular electrical engineering, electronics, computer science, automation, signal processing, photonics and optronics.

Engineering sciences 2 includes in particular civil engineering, mechanics, materials engineering, acoustics, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, energetics and process engineering.

The research sector of a business enterprise is the main branch of economic activity on which research is carried out. The 32 research sectors are based on the French classification of economic activities (Nomenclature d’activités française - NAF rev.2).

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37 researchers in business enterprises

This page has been updated. Read 37. researchers in business enterprises in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

In 2011, almost 197,000 researchers were involved in R&D activity in business enterprises. This is a young population, with half aged under 38. The proportion of women is still low (20%). The majority of researchers in business enterprises hold an engineering diploma. Only 12% have a PhD. Women are strongly represented in medical and biological sciences.

In France in 2011, 197,000 researchers (physical persons) were carrying out their R&D activity in a business enterprise. The population of researchers in business enterprises is still young and very much male dominated. The median age of these researchers in France is 38, compared with 41 overall for managers in business enterprises that are active in R&D (chart 37.01). Between the ages of 35 and 40, a proportion of researchers in business enterprises change activity and move into other positions, while usually still remaining in the private sector. Researchers aged over 50 represent only 15% of all researchers working in the business enterprise sector.

In 2011, more than half of researchers in business enterprises had graduated from an engineering school (chart 37.02). Those with a PhD represented only 12% of researchers in the private sector. A quarter of these had a PhD in medical sciences. In addition, among PhD graduates working in business enterprises, excluding those with a PhD in medical sciences, 28% obtained their PhD after first obtaining a qualification in an engineering school, which boosts the importance of this sector. Lastly, 16% of researchers in business enterprises held a Master's degree (or Diploma of advanced studies (Diplôme d’études approfondies - DEA)/Specialised graduate diploma (Diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées - DESS)). By working in research in business enterprises, it is also possible to obtain validation for professional experience: 9% of researchers have a level of study below that of a Bachelor's degree.

Four out of five researchers in business enterprises work in Engineering sciences or Mathematics-Software-Physics (chart 37.03). In contrast, fewer than 3% work in the Social sciences, Earth Sciences or Humanities.

In businesses in the service sector (Audiovisual, Computer science and engineering) half of researchers are under 35, whereas in other sectors where research is geared more towards industry (Manufacture of communication equipment, Agriculture, Manufacture of appliances for measuring and Pharmaceutical industry) the median age is over 41. In the pharmaceutical sector, 46% of researchers hold a PhD, whereas in the Automobile and Aeronautic construction sectors the proportion of PhDs is 4% and 7% respectively.

In 2011, 5% of business enterprise researchers working in France were foreign nationals and practically half of these were from European Union member states.

On average, only one in five researchers are women. However, the rate of feminisation is higher among the younger generations: women represent a quarter of researchers among the under-25s (chart 37.04a and chart 37.04b). This higher feminisation among young researchers in business enterprises (and among the youngest managers in businesses too) is explained by the fact that women are on average two years younger than the men. Compared to their male colleagues, fewer women researchers are engineers (43% compared with 57%) and more hold PhDs (20% compared with 10%). However, this contrast relates to the discipline in which the researchers work, which in turn depends on the sector of the company where research work is mainly carried out, called the company's research sector.  1 In Mathematics-Software-Physics, women researchers represent only 15% of the total. In contrast, women outnumber men in Medical sciences and Biological sciences.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

1 For a constant sector structure, the gap between the rate of male and female researchers who hold a PhD is reduced to 3 points in favour of women, instead of the 10 points observed here.

How to cite this paper :

PERRAIN Laurent. Researchers in business enterprises. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2015. 8th ed. Chapter 37, 84-85 [Accessed 04/25/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_R_37-researchers_in_business_enterprises.php

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The data presented here are definitive and are taken from the special survey of researchers and research and development (R&D) engineers in business enterprises in 2011, a 2-yearly addition to the annual survey of R&D expenditure in business enterprises. R&D researchers and engineers are counted as physical persons. All researchers and R&D engineers present on 31 December (or at the end of the accounting period) and working on R&D projects (exclusively or partially) count as 1.

In business enterprises, researchers and engineers in R&D are scientists and engineers engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems (including doctoral students with funding who are paid by the company, for example, like those with an Industrial Agreement for Training through Research (Convention industrielle de formation par la recherche - CIFRE)), and high-level personnel responsible for research teams.

Engineering sciences 1 includes in particular electrical engineering, electronics, computer science, automation, signal processing, photonics and optronics.

Engineering sciences 2 includes in particular civil engineering, mechanics, materials engineering, acoustics, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, energetics and process engineering.

The research sector of a business enterprise is the main branch of economic activity on which research is carried out. The 32 research sectors are based on the French classification of economic activities (Nomenclature d’activités française - NAF rev.2).

 

Key figures


Median age of researchers in business enterprises
38 years
 
2011
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "37. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Median age of managers in R&D business enterprises
41 years
 
2011
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "37. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: Insee
Share of researchers in business enterprises with an engineering diploma
54.3%
 
2011
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "37. researchers in business enterprises".

Coverage: highest diploma
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of researchers in business enterprises with a PhD
12%
 
2011
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "37. researchers in business enterprises".

Coverage: highest diploma
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See one more key figure  
Share of foreign researchers in business enterprises
5%
 
2011
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "37. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

37.01 Breakdown by age bracket of researchers and managers in business enterprises in 2011 (%)

  
Researchers 1
Managers 2
 
 

1 Median age of researchers, 38 years.
2 Median age of managers, 41 years..

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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37.02 Breakdown by highest qualification and gender of researchers in business enterprises in 2011 (%)

Engineering diploma
Postgraduate DEA DESS
PhD (all subject fields)
Bac + 2 years and less
Master's degree
Bachelor's degree
Foreign diploma
  
Men
Women
All
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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37.03 Breakdown of researchers in business enterprises according to their field of research and proportion of women per subject area in 2011 (%)

Engineering sciences 1 1
Engineering sciences 2 2
Mathematics-Software-Physics
Chemistry
Medical sciences
Biological sciences
Management and R&D supervision
Agricultural sciences
Social sciences
Earth sciences-Environment
Humanities
  
Weight of subject area
Share of women per subject area 3
 
 

1 Electrical engineering, electronics, computer sciences, automation, signal processing, photonics, optronics.
2 Civil engineering, mechanics, materials engineering, acoustics, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, energy, process engineering.
3 Women accounted for 19.6% of researchers in business enterprises in 2011.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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37.04a Age pyramid for researchers in business enterprises in 2011

65 and over
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
Under 25
  
Men
Women
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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37.04b Share of women according to age among researchers in business enterprises in 2011 (%)

Under 25
 
30-34
40-44
50-54
60-64
 
 
25-29
35-39
45-49
55-59
 
65 and over
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Related statistical publications

 Repères et références statistiques sur les enseignements, la formation et la recherche - RERS - RERS - 2014 - Recherche et développement - 2014
La R&D française est présentée du point de vue des effectifs de chercheurs, de la dépense intérieure et extérieure, de la répartition des financements entre acteurs privés et publics.
 Note d'information SIES 14.04 - Researchers in business enterprises in 2011 - Laurent Perrain - July 2014
In 2011, 148,000 researchers (full-time equivalent [FTE]) were employed in research in business enterprises, almost 50,000 more than in the public sector. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of researchers in the private sector increased significantly (60,000 more FTEs) especially in market services research where numbers almost tripled.

While the population of researchers increased significantly, the number of supporting staff decreased, as did the overhead allocated to research.

As a result, the 'global' cost of a researcher (measured as the ratio of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure to number of researchers) decreased substantially over the decade, mainly due to the drop in the level of support from supporting staff.

The research population in business enterprises remained young, with most being trained in engineering schools. There were fewer women (one in five researchers).
 Note d'information SIES 11.05 - Researchers in business enterprises - Laurent Perrain - April 2011
In 2007, more than 137,000 researchers were carrying out R&D activities in a business enterprise. They numbered only 81,000 in 1997, and there are now almost as many researchers in business enterprises as their counterparts in government. Two thirds are concentrated in six economic sectors: electronic components, computer services, automobile industry, aeronautics, measuring instruments and pharmaceuticals. The significant increase in the number of researchers in business enterprises in the last ten years has primarily been focused in computer services. This is a young and mainly masculine population. In 2007, their average age was under 40. More than half of these researchers were trained in engineering schools. Women are younger, on average, with more qualifications than the men.
 Note recherche 04.01 - Les chercheurs étrangers dans les organismes publics de recherche et dans les entreprises françaises - Collectif - February 2004
Les chercheurs post-doctorants étrangers travaillant dans les institutions publiques de recherche et dans les entreprises françaises ont, quant à leur mobilité, des motivations différentes. Les laboratoires d'accueil de cette population élaborent également des stratégies différentes. Selon les disciplines, les situations de travail sont différenciées. Selon les trois disciplines étudiées (chimie, économie et sciences de la vie), l'étude met en évidence des comportements qui varient selon les choix de diplômes retenus, les déroulements de carrière et les rôles du post-doctorat.
 Note d'information DEPP 00.10 - Les chercheurs en entreprises - Evolution sur longue période et situation en 1997 - Yves Jacquin, Alain Lacourege - March 2000
Evolution des effectifs de chercheurs employés dans les entreprises entre 1984 et 1997. Répartition des effectifs en 1997 selon les branches d'activité et part des chercheurs dans l'effectif total (évolution entre 1992 et 1997). Part des femmes parmi les chercheurs et selon le niveau de diplôme (comparaison entre 1984 et 1997). Répartition des chercheurs selon le type et le niveau de diplôme (ingénieur et formation universitaire) et selon la taille de l'entreprise. Comparaison des flux d'entrée de chercheurs en 1984, 1991 et 1997. Répartition des débutants et flux de sortie selon le niveau de diplôme ; comparaison entre 1984, 1991 et 1997. Encadré sur les sources.

Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
37 - researchers in business enterprises - Alexis Boinet & Laurent Perrain
In 2013, almost 220,000 researchers were involved in R&D activity in business enterprises in France. This is a young population, with a low proportion of women (20%), the majority with an engineering degree. In business enterprises, only 12% of researchers have a PhD and 17% have a Master's degree. The socio-economic characteristics of researchers, however, depend on the company's sector of research [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
38 - researchers in business enterprises - Laurent Perrain
In 2013, almost 220,000 researchers were involved in R&D activity in business enterprises in France. This is a young population, with a low proportion of women (20%), the majority with an engineering degree. In business enterprises, only 12% of researchers have a PhD and 17% have a Master's degree. The socio-economic characteristics of researchers, however, depend on the company's sector of research [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°8 - juin 2015
37 - les chercheurs en entreprises - Laurent Perrain
En 2011, près de 197 000 chercheurs ont une activité de R&D en entreprise. C’est une population jeune, dont la moitié a moins de 38 ans. Elle reste faiblement féminisée (à 20 %). La majorité des chercheurs en entreprise ont un diplôme d’ingénieur. Seuls 12 % ont un doctorat. Les femmes sont fortement représentées dans les sciences médicales et les sciences biologiques [Consult the following page in french]


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