Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
Selection effect. You don't notice the ones who end up elsewhere. In one "jobs" seminar I went to, the speaker mentioned that in his experience, about 1/3 of phyics Ph.D.s go into academia, another 1/3 into government work, and the last 1/3 into "business." In my experience, a lot of the "business" ones went into software development, where it's easy to take the physics problem-solving tools and apply them to business processes. In my particular circumstances, my decision was influenced by two major events: closing the Superconducting Supercollider, and the .com boom, thus physics jobs were scarce and development jobs were lucrative at the time.
It would not surprise me if a substantial portion of physics people did eventually go into business stuff. However, we never had any seminars saying 1/3 of peeps did, nor did we have any seminars talking about those numbers. For my undergrad on avg 80% of people went on to physics [or related, ie EE EO, etc] grad school. In my class it was 5/6.

My reference point was talking to people at my school(s) when they finished and asking them where they were going. Most went to postdocs and/or national labs. Some went to private companies for "science" purposes, and maybe some went to private companies as computer programmers. Admittedly, I did not ask EVERY person who left where they went, but I do think I eventually heard about all through the grapevine.

Another factor perhaps at play is that people I knew had just finished school, but if you were to come back 10 years later and ask again, more of them might have migrated into business or the like by that point.