Your PhD, What’s Next? Non-Academic Jobs

Adopted from article written by Jayne Sharples, University of Birmingham.  The original article can be found here

Where can I work?

A PhD is recognized by employers across a wide range of sectors as a sign thaPHDt you will bring a distinctive skill set to their organization. There are also opportunities where your subject-specific skills and knowledge will be in demand.

Do not, however, limit yourself to applying for jobs that specifically require a PhD. Unless a PhD is a prerequisite for the job, employers won’t necessarily mention it in their advertisements.

After finishing your PhD, you may want to work outside of academia. Find out how to succeed in the job market

Sectors and types of work likely to match the skills and aspirations of PhD graduates include:

  • Education (teaching) – outside of higher education there are opportunities to gain relevant teaching qualifications and to teach your subject in schools or to lecture in a community college.
  • Higher Education (administrative and professional roles) – non-teaching roles are available in universities and other educational institutions. In universities, for example, PhD graduates are valued for their administrative skills and understanding of the research environment.
  • Public Sector – PhD graduates are valued in roles within the Civil Service, government agencies and local government for their analytical, research and communication skills. Your subject-specific knowledge will also be in demand if your research is relevant to specific public sector policy and strategy areas. Find out what it’s like to work in the public sector.
  • Industry Research and Development – opportunities exist to continue your research in commercial and industrial environments, for example in the medical, pharmaceutical and engineering sectors. Roles are likely to combine applied research with project management. Many higher-level positions within research and development are open to those with a PhD.
  • Healthcare Sector and Medical Research – the health sector is a relatively common destination for PhD graduates who wish to continue or build on their area of research, in the NHS or public research institutes. PhD graduates are also recruited to non-research roles.
  • Business and Finance – jobs are available in areas such as investment and retail banking, insurance and pensions. PhD graduates are particularly valued if they have specialist quantitative and statistical training, and high-level analytical and communication skills.
  • Be a Consultant – your ability to work on projects and to devise novel solutions to problems are of value in a range of management consultancy contexts, such as business and finance, technology and IT. Think tanks also offer opportunities for PhD graduates. Search for opportunities in business, consulting and management.
  • Publishing – the analytical and writing skills developed preparing papers and writing a thesis are essential skills for the publishing sector. PhD students who get involved with reviewing journal papers during their studies are well placed to move into writing and editorial roles.
  • STEM Industry – jobs are available in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics where PhD graduates can put their creative skills and talents into practice by creating new inventions.
  • Not-for-Profit Sector – opportunities in charities, voluntary and non-governmental organizations often include openings related to your area of research.
  • Entrepreneurship– the problem-solving and creative-thinking skills developed during your PhD, together with your communication and networking skills, mean that you may be suited to starting your own business.

Posted by Marian Moore, Career Development Coordinator & Career Counselor



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