Careers for Science PhDs

“PhD recipients should feel confident in their career potential, especially if they are willing to look beyond universities. ‘All of our language in academia encourages researchers to be academics,’ she says. ‘The challenge is getting over this psychological barrier to help researchers look more widely in terms of employment. There are some great jobs out there.'” (source)

A recent article in Nature discusses the job outcomes of PhD graduates and concludes that, by and large, PhD graduates report a high level of job satisfaction.

PhD graduates tend to imagine they will lead academic careers; however, the majority (70-80%) end up working in industry, Government and the private sector.

While many people with PhDs will end up changing course from their original career plan, the studies discussed in the article reveal this has not eroded career satisfaction.

Researchers who have been tracking the journeys of PhD graduates conclude that the main takeaway from these studies is that people with doctorates are leading rewarding careers, many of which are in niches that did not exist 15 years ago.

Read the full article.

Employment after a PhD: doctoral career trajectories

What do people with PhDs do? Research shows that only 25% of PhD graduates will end up in academia. So, what do the other 75% of careers actually look like? What can you do now, in the first three years since graduating, to develop your career, in your chosen field?

Post-PhD Career Trajectories: Intentions, Decision-Making and Life Experiences by Lynn McAlpine and Cheryl Amundsen draws on 10 years of research and follows nearly 50 PhD graduates as they explore and embark on employment after graduating. Each career trajectory is unique as individuals planned and made decisions in the face of both expected and unexpected work, personal experiences and responsibilities. This book concludes with resources to help those who are currently planning or reflecting on their own career trajectories.

“Our goal in writing the book is to provide access to the richness of the stories the 48 individuals told us as they navigated their PhDs and post-PhD careers. We hope we have made evident the important role played by intention and resilience in crafting a career. We trust we have also made transparent the role of the PhD in laying the groundwork for the career outcomes that are possible after graduation. Our goal overall was to create a collection of stories that would allow you to draw personal and professional implications and lessons for yourself.”

Browse the eBook now.

Researcher career stories

Vitaes collection of researcher career stories comprises over 150 short, personal narratives about the professional experiences and decisions of doctoral graduates and researchers at all stages of their careers. These stories show the diversity of career paths taken by researchers and aim to inspire emerging researchers’ career aspirations.

See the doctoral entrepreneur section to read how research graduates have used the skills gained during their doctoral training to found businesses, social enterprises and consultancies, and visit career stories on film to hear researchers talk about their career journeys.

Make sure you also read the stories of our own doctoral graduates here on the QMomentum blog.