22 SES 03 B, PhD Careers and Employability
The contribution from Denmark is based on empirical data from a research project from 2017 focusing on the career paths and strategies of PhD graduates from the humanities and social sciences. Drawing on data from this project and on the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu, the paper analyses the main career strategies of this group of PhDs, which include research, mixed, and exit strategies. Following a political agreement on an annual growth in PhD admissions (Globaliseringsaftalen, 2006), there has been a marked increase in the number of PhD graduates in Denmark. This increase applies generally and across disciplines, even though it is less significant in the humanities and social sciences than in the technical and health science fields (Statistics Denmark, 2014). However, in the humanities and social sciences, where more studies have been subject to adjustments in student intake in recent years the development in the PhD field has led to special political attention now being paid to the PhD education and employment (Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet, 2017). The focus has been on the labour market and employability of the humanities and social science PhD graduates, including how PhD graduates use their competencies and choose career strategies. Thus, the increased admission to university and PhDs give rise to an interest in their career paths and which competencies they develop through the PhD. This interest also originates from current changes in the labour market, which influence on the academic job market (Ecclestone et al. 2010; Illeris, 2009). The paper’s main aim is to illuminate how PhD graduates use their competencies and follow different career strategies. The relevance of the questions is based on, amongst other things, the increased admissions to researcher educations. This has recently given rise to studies of the PhD graduates’ career paths and employment patterns. The area has been relatively underexposed in a Danish context. This concerns both questions about what it is that makes the PhD graduates ‘choose’ or ‘reject’ a career at the university – though the question about reason and ‘choice’ is just as much about conditions of opportunity – as well as questions about which competencies the PhD graduates have developed through the PhD and how they translate these competencies into different contexts for recruitment. These are the questions that the paper addresses on the basis of two empirical studies from 2016 and 2017 (Drejer et al. 2016; Rasmussen & Andreasen, 2017).
Drejer, I., Holm, J. R. & Østergaard, C. R. 2016. Where do they go? A Comparative Analysis of the Career Paths of PhD Graduates from Humanities and Social Sciences at Aalborg University, 1994-2012. Aalborg: Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Humanities. Ecclestone, K., G. Biesta, and M. Hughes. 2010. “The role of identity, agency and structure.” In Transitions and Learning through the Lifecourse, edited by K. Ecclestone, G. Biesta, and M. Hughes. Routledge. Globaliseringsaftalen. 2006. Aftale om udmøntning af globaliseringspuljen. Aftale mellem regeringen (Venstre og Det Konservative Folkeparti) og Socialdemokraterne, Dansk Folkeparti og Det Radikale Venstre om udmøntning af globaliseringspuljen [Agreement on implementation of the globalisation fund. Agreement between the government (Venstre and Det Konservative Folkeparti) and Socialdemokraterne, Dansk Folkeparti and Det Radikale Venstre on implementation of the globalisation fund]. November 2006. https://www.google.dk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=globaliseringsaftalen+2006&spf=1496070766041 Illeris, K. 2009. “Kompetence, læring og uddannelse. Hvordan læres kompetencer, og hvordan kan de udvikles gennem formaliseret uddannelse?” [Competency, learning and education. How are competencies learnt and how can they be developed through formalised education?] Nordisk Pedagogik, Vol. 29: 194–209.Statistics Denmark, 2014 Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet. 2017. Ph.d.-uddannelsens kvalitet og relevans. Sammenskrivning af hovedresultater. http://ufm.dk/publikationer/2017/filer/ph-d-uddannelsens-kvalitet-og-relevans.pdf
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