Post-PhDs career trajectories outside academy

Post-PhDs career trajectories outside academy

Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University

The gap between working in the academic versus public/private sector appears to be smaller than expected.

The amount of PhD graduates at Dutch university doubled since 2000. For 68% of the PhDs there is, sometimes after temporary contracts, no employment at a Dutch or foreign university. They continue their careers outside academy working in education, business or the semi-(public) sector.

The career opportunities and terms of employment are more favourable outside academy than inside academy, as research has already shown. In spite of this, reportings on careers of PhDs are too often one-sided. Over and over is emphasized that only 30% of the PhDs can stay in academy and that young scientists are uncertain about the continuation of their employment. It is time to change the perspective by starting to look outside.

Inge van der Weijden (CWTS), Evan de Gelder (CWTS), Christine Teelken (VU Amsterdam) and Marian Thunnissen (Fontys) have done a lot of research on scientific careers and talent development and utilization inside universities. This time they examined the careers of PhDs and postdocs who opted for a job outside university. Their research reveals that the assumed gap between academic versus public/private sector is smaller than expected. This research shakes up some taken-for-granted assumptions.

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