PhD Employability and post-doctoral pathways have been hot topics within research/academic circles for some time now. It is well understood that the ever-growing number of PhD qualified candidates can no longer expect to take the traditional academic route. Academic job markets in many research-intensive countries are becoming saturated. Over the past year or so we have seen some research starting to emerge that helps us understand what might be going on and what do such labour market conditions mean for PhD qualified candidates as well as those who work to support their careers. Much of the content here summarises a special interest session run by jobs.ac.uk at the Vitae International Conference 2017. During our special interest session, we wanted to contribute to this discussion by sharing our views, insights and knowledge on the topic. Our aim was to facilitate a discussion and to start forming practical solutions to the challenges as we see them.
We drew on some of the insights from our survey of around 5,000 doctoral and post-doc candidates, and from interviews with an MCSA funded PhD student, Arathi Kizhedath at Newcastle University and a Head of People Development and former Head of Careers Centre at ETH Zurich, Martin Ghisletti.