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

📄 Source:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

The data presented here are semi-finalised and are taken from the special survey of researchers and research and development (R&D) engineers in business enterprises in 2013, 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 (present on 31 December or at the end of the accounting period and working on R&D projects exclusively or partially).

In business enterprises, researchers 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 (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 in which research is carried out. The 32 research sectors are based on the French classification of economic activities (NAF rev.2).

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38 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 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.

In France in 2013, 220,000 researchers (headcount) were working in a business enterprise. The population of researchers in business enterprises is still young: half of researchers are under 38, compared with 42 overall for managers in business enterprises (chart 38.01). However, in two years, there has been a slight shift in businesses towards the higher age bands: 16.6% of researchers were aged 50 and over in 2013, compared to 15.5% in 2011 (the same change, +1 point, was noted for managers).

In 2013, 54% of researchers had graduated from an engineering school (chart 38.02). Although there was a greater proportion of PhD holders in public research organisations, higher education or non-profit institutions, doctoral graduates only represented 12% of researchers in the private sector. A quarter of these had a PhD in medical sciences. In addition, among PhD graduates, excluding those with a PhD in medical sciences, around 30% obtained their PhD after first obtaining a qualification in an engineering school. 17% of researchers held a Master's degree (or Diploma of advanced studies (DEA)/Specialised graduate diploma (DESS)) in 2013. This increased by one point in two years. By working in research in business enterprises, it is also possible to obtain validation of professional experience: 8% of researchers have a level of study below that of a Bachelor's degree. Finally, 2% of researchers were graduates from foreign universities (nearly one quarter at PhD level).

Four out of five researchers in business enterprises work in 'Engineering sciences' or 'Mathematics-Software-Physics' (chart 38.03). In contrast, fewer than 3% work in the 'Social sciences', 'Earth Sciences' or 'Humanities'. In 2013, the 'Computer services' and "Scientific and technical activities' research sectors employed over a quarter of business enterprise researchers, which are a young population (median age of 34). In the 'Communication Equipment', 'Measurement appliances' and 'Pharmaceutical industry', the median age of researchers is over 42. Most researchers with a healthcare PhD work in the pharmaceutical sector (61%). Excluding healthcare, the 'Scientific and Technical Activities' sector employs the largest proportion of PhD graduates (19%).

In business enterprises, one in five researchers are women. The younger generations contain slightly more women: 23% of researchers under 30 are women (chart 38.04a and chart 38.04b). Like male researchers however, their population has discreetly aged. 30% of female researchers in business enterprises are concentrated in two sectors of research: 'Scientific and Technical Activities' and 'Pharmaceutical industry' (the respective levels of women are 23% and 59%).

Compared to their male colleagues, fewer women researchers are engineers (43% compared with 57%). Among business enterprise researchers, there are more women than men in the 'Medical sciences' and 'Biological sciences' sectors.

In 2013, 5% of business enterprise researchers working in France were foreign nationals and half of these were from European Union member states. In business enterprises, over a quarter of foreign researchers were women.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

PERRAIN Laurent. Researchers in business enterprises. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 50 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2016. 9th ed. Chapter 38 [Accessed 07/18/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-151572-7. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/EESR9EN_R_38-researchers_in_business_enterprises.php

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The data presented here are semi-finalised and are taken from the special survey of researchers and research and development (R&D) engineers in business enterprises in 2013, 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 (present on 31 December or at the end of the accounting period and working on R&D projects exclusively or partially).

In business enterprises, researchers 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 (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 in which research is carried out. The 32 research sectors are based on the French classification of economic activities (NAF rev.2).

 

Key figures


Median age of researchers in business enterprises
38 years
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Median age of managers in business enterprises
42 years
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: Insee
Share of researchers in business enterprises with an engineering diploma
54.4%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. researchers in business enterprises".

Coverage: highest diploma
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of researchers in business enterprises with a PhD
11.7%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. 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%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "38. researchers in business enterprises".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

38.01 Breakdown by age bracket of researchers and managers in business enterprises in 2013 (%)

  
Researchers1
Managers 23
 
 

1 Median age of researchers, 38 years.
2 Median age of managers, 42 years.
3 2012 data.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.02 Breakdown by highest qualification and gender of researchers in business enterprises in 2013 (%)

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

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38.03 Breakdown of researchers in business enterprises according to their field of research and proportion of women per subject area in 2013 (%)

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

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.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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38.04a Age pyramid for researchers in business enterprises in 2013

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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38.04b Share of women according to age among researchers in business enterprises in 2013 (%)

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

 Note d'information SIES 16.05 - Researchers in business enterprises in 2013 - Laurent Perrain - July 2016
In 2013, 220,000 people were employed as researchers in business enterprises, either part-time or full-time.

The corresponding workforce is 162,000 full-time equivalent (FTE), or 61% of all researchers working in France. This proportion is much higher (+13 points) than the European average.

The professional activity of researchers in business enterprises has changed: in 2013, they devoted 73% of their average annual working time to R&D, compared to 95% up to 2005. In addition, they only benefit from 0.6 FTE support personnel per year to help them with their research work, half the level recorded in 2001. Researchers in business enterprises are relatively young (half are under 38 years of age), mostly male (80%) and engineering graduates (54% compared to 12% of PhD graduates).

However, this average profile depends on the size of the company and above all its research sector.
 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).

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 8th edition - November 2015
37 - researchers in business enterprises - Laurent Perrain
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 [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°9 - Juin 2016
38 - les chercheurs en entreprises - Laurent Perrain
En 2013, près de 220 000 chercheurs ont une activité de R&D en entreprise sur le territoire français. Cette population est plutôt jeune, peu féminisée (à 20 %) et en majorité issue d’une école d’ingénieur. En entreprise, 12 % des chercheurs sont docteurs et 17 % sont titulaires d’un Master. Les caractéristiques socioprofessionnelles des chercheurs dépendent cependant du secteur de recherche de l’entreprise [Consult the following page in french]


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