Friday, November 13, 2015

For Ph.D.s Working Outside Academia, Incorporation Holds Benefits

Occupational prospects for Ph.D. holding scientists and researchers have become increasingly sparse in recent years. In 2012 around 10% of scientists with a Ph.D. were unemployed. For many highly-educated individuals who have been unable to find careers as a university faculty, working as a freelance researcher, consultant, grant writer, or scientific worker outside of academia has been the best available option. Regardless of employment status, Ph.D.s may stand to benefit by incorporating themselves into a limited liability company.

According to Andrew Thaler, Ph.D., incorporation provides a more efficient way to manage finances and make services more appealing to outside sources of work/funding. As a "single-owner S Corp limited liability company (LLC)", for instance, personal wealth is better protected from lawsuits. In addition, there are a number of tax benefits afforded to a LLC that are not available to an individual person. Perhaps more importantly, forming a corporate organization allows a given Ph.D. to be more competitive for research grants and other opportunities for which they may otherwise be overlooked. Funding organizations are less hesitant to pay large amounts in the form of a grant or other vector to a professional consulting organization than they are to an individual. Organizations or corporations appear to be more accountable and therefore less risky in terms of investment. Additionally, the perception of being the leader of an organization, rather than a lone, semi-unemployed freelancer, is more appealing to those who can offer opportunities to further your career.

Incorporating can serve to legitimize the functions and services that are likely to produce greater opportunity for career growth and success. Futures look positive for more Ph.D.s to seek incorporation regardless of their current employment status.

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