I think we need to make available a couple of stats which are not really discussed in the popular rants on "whether it makes sense to do a PhD".
First, I want to have an easy access to an up-to-date ratio of number of people which apply for a single job opening in different areas at graduation level. Here is a couple of scary facts, which surprised me recently. Today in the area of cell biology, it's not uncommon to have 150 candidates for a single PhD-level opening in industry (some people say it can reach 400, but I don't have reliable data for that). Doing a PhD in biology is effectively a suicide. It's different for CS, so we can be calm for now, but a prediction for what will happen in 5-7 years can be helpful. There is some data from NSF, like this (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/sed/digest/2011/
), but it's hard to read
Second, I want to see a graph which shows the possibility of transitioning across different levels and across different institutions. For example, is it possible to get a faculty position in Utah after graduating from Rochester? Or really you need another hop like Rochester to MSR, MIT, or Stanford, and only then Utah. I mean, maybe there is no real chance of getting a faculty job after graduating from Utah. The access to such graph could make your PhD plans much more practical, e.g. if you got stuck in your school, quit right away with MS and try to do a PhD at a better school.