An academic career is by no means the only avenue for a PhD graduate. You will have developed specialised and extensive research skills that will be advantageous in a range of both research and non-research roles.
Researchers are in high demand in industry and the Civil Service. Research jobs in non-academic settings usually involve some aspect of project management, providing opportunities to develop your managerial skills.
Commercial research organisations will require you to concentrate on their business priorities, unlike research jobs within academia which generally give you more autonomy to develop your own research interests.
Doctoral graduates are valued outside of education and research roles, as employers recognise the wider knowledge and skills base that they can bring. The Prospects website has several examples of industries for which the skills gained during your PhD would be an advantage, including among others:
- The Civil Service
- Intellectual Property
- University administration
- The third sector
Employers look for ’hard’ skills such as knowledge, ability with foreign languages and IT skills. But they also value strong transferable skills - including teamwork, commercial awareness, good written and verbal communication and problem solving. Your CV will need to be explicit about how the skills gained during your research degree are transferable and high-level, for example:
- Your thesis provides expertise and experience at interpreting and manipulating data and writing reports
- Belonging to the relevant research group demonstrates teamwork and creativity
- Running experiments and implementing methodology for your research proves you will have developed project management skills and be adept at problem solving