22 SES 03 B, PhD Careers and Employability
The employment situation of post-PhD researchers deserves further attention because they are highly educated and motivated, closely involved with and contributing to the primary process of academia and economic and social growth in their countries (Häyrinen-Alestalo & Peltola 2006), but often lack a longer-term perspective and tenured contracts. Younger entry-level academics prefer to stay in academia (85%), value a clear career path and some kind of assurance whereas in reality they are forced to ‘face periods of uncertainty’ (Fumasoli, 2015, p.8). Systematic insights into their position and how they prepare for the future are currently not available but essential for the prospects of the entire higher education enterprise (e.g. Chen, et al. 2015). Recent research confirms the importance of guidance and support on the individual level, especially for preparing for the future. The advantages of an involved supervisor include an increased awareness of the need to prepare for the future and therefore more agency to do so (Scaffidi and Berman, 2011; Davis, 2009). Post PhDs who feel supported are more confident and experience less stress about their future which will not only lead to a more positive postdoc experience (Scaffidi and Berman, 2011), but will also better prepare them for a future career (Chen et al., 2015; McAlpine and Amundsen, 2011; Scaffidi and Berman, 2011; Van der Weijden et al., 2015). Given the increasing number of post PhDs who will be employed outside academia after finishing one or more temporary positions, the demands and expectations of guidance and support will be crucial, as well as its embeddedness within the universities (e.g. HRM-policies). Several of my Master’s students carried out preliminary investigations concerning the role played by human resource management at universities (focusgroups) (Koen Ruiter, 2015), showing how small their role is. Interviews with 13 post-PhDs and postdocs outside academia and their 6 managers (Katinka Zollner, 2016), revealed that postphds outside academia suffer from the stereotypes held against them. Denise Heijmen (2016) demonstrated on the basis of 15 interviews with mentors, mainly full professors, concerning the coaching and supervision of post-PhDs within academia that they felt ill prepared to offer essential support if their post-PhDs desired or needed to leave academia. Based on 23 interviews about career development of former postdocs outside academia Kirsten van der Plas (2016) discloses how much they liked their current employment, in a often more practically-oriented and team based setting.
Chen, S., McAlpine, L. and Amundsen, C. (2015), ‘’Postdoctoral positions as preparation for desired careers: a narrative approach to understanding postdoctoral experience’’, Higher Education Research & Development, (ahead-of-print), pp. 1-14. Davis, G. (2009), “Improving the Postdoctoral Experience: An Empirical Approach”, in Freeman, R.B. and Goroff, D.L. (eds), Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Häyrinen-Alestalo, M. and Peltola, U. (2006), ‘’The problem of a market-oriented university’’, Higher Education, Vol. 52, No. 2, pp. 251-281. McAlpine, L. and Amundsen, C. (2011), ‘’Making meaning of diverse experiences: Constructing an identity through time’’, in McAlpine, L, and Amundsen, C. (eds), Doctoral education: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators, Springer, Netherlands, pp. 173-183. Scaffidi, A.K. and Berman, J.E. (2011), ‘’A positive postdoctoral experience is related to quality supervision and career mentoring, collaborations, networking and a nurturing research environment’’, Higher Education, Vol. 62 No. 6, pp. 685-698. Van der Weijden, I., Teelken, C., Drost, M. and De Boer, M. (2016), Higher Education, pp. 1-16. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10734-015-9936-0
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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