22 SES 16 B, Lessons Learned: Linking the Careers of Doctorate Holders to Current Shifts (Part II)
Symposium Part II, continued from 22 SES 15 B
Although the impact varies depending on the national policy regimes, doctorate holders, as a highly qualified labor force, play a crucial role in economic growth (Cohen & Soto, 2007; Cyranoski, Gilbert, Ledford, Nayar, & Yahia, 2011). Therefore, knowledge-based economies keep investing in maximizing the number of doctorate holders (Gokhberg et al., 2016). Unfortunately, an increase in doctorate holders alone does not enhance the economic growth if doctoral education cannot meet the needs and preferences of both doctoral candidates and (non-)academic employers.
Doctorate holders who prefer to pursue an academic career most likely find themselves in extended periods of postdoctoral research positions, and are faced with a highly competitive work environment, restricted funding opportunities, limited permanent positions, and a lack of future prospects. Doctorate holders who prefer to enter the non-academic labor market report high levels of satisfaction, even after several years of holding a postdoctoral position (Haynes, Metcalfe, & Yilmaz, 2016). Nevertheless, in the process of making this transition, they are faced with numerous barriers both from within (e.g., lack of career support and information about career prospects, stigma attached to leaving academia, etc.) and outside of academia (e.g., skills mismatch, expectations mismatch, negative stereotypes of non-academic employers, etc.) (Bebiroglu, Dethier, & Ameryckx, 2020; De Grande, De Boyser, Vandevelde, & Van Rossem, 2011; van der Weijden, De Gelder, Teelken, & Thunnissen, 2017; Wille, Legrand, Mortier, & Levecque, 2020).
We need to rethink and reimagine doctoral education, acknowledging that it is no longer uniquely the training of professors but also the training of versatile professionals who should be optimally employable in the non-academic sector. There are currently multiple dilemmas inherent in the education system of doctoral candidates:
· Emphasizing academic collaboration while understanding the importance of collaboration with non-academic sectors;
· Putting the creation of knowledge at the heart while understanding the importance of building bridges with societal needs;
· Recognizing the importance of doctoral candidates and doctorate holders and the research they produce in academia while not being able to offer them enough job prospects;
· Recognizing/ understanding the role of the perceptions and needs of non-academic employers as regards highly skilled workers while not being able to match these needs.
Based on evidence coming from 5 different countries and 6 different regions, the presentations of this symposium will be divided into two separate sessions:
Session 1: Looking Ahead: Current Shifts in Trends, Practices and Preferences
Session 2: Lessons Learned: Linking the Careers of Doctorate Holders to Current Shifts
Based on (1) the realities of the wider economic and societal context in which researchers are embedded, and (2) the current shifts, practices and preferences that are covered during the first session, the second session of this symposium will change the focus from doctoral candidates to doctorate holders and reflect on their experiences to reimagine doctoral education. This second session will start with the link between the collaborations with different sectors during doctoral education and the career paths of doctorate holders (Presentation 1, Ghent University/ECOOM). Next, we will focus on the (mis)match between skills learned during doctoral education and used in the workplace, by taking into account both the perspectives of doctorate holders and employers (Presentation 2, Observatoire de la Recherche et des Carrières Scientifiques-F.R.S.-FNRS). The last presentation will cover the link between the motivation of doctorate holders and their career transitions (Presentation 3, CWTS). All presentations will reflect on doctoral education using the insights gathered from the careers of doctorate holders.
Bebiroglu, N., Dethier, B., & Ameryckx, C. (January, 2020). Education-job match among PhD holders in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. Observatory Thematic Report Series #1, Volume 2: http://www.observatoire.frs-fnrs.be/docs/REPORT_EMPLOYMENT_Vol2_ENG.pdf Cohen, D., & Soto, M. (2007). Growth and human capital: Good data, good results. Journal of Economic Growth, 12(1), 51-76. Cyranoski, D., Gilbert, N., Ledford, H., Nayar, A., & Yahia, M. (2011). Education: The PhD factory. Nature, 472, 276-279. DOI: doi.org/10.1038/472276a De Grande, H., De Boyser, K., Vandevelde, K., & Van Rossem, R. (2011). The skills mismatch: what doctoral candidates and employers consider important?. ECOOM, 4, 1-4. Gokhberg, L., Shmatko, N., & Auriol, L. (2016). The science and technology labor force: The value of doctorate holders and development of professional careers. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27210-8 Haynes, K., Metcalfe, J., & Yilmaz, M. (2016). What do research staff do next. URL: https://www. vitae. ac. uk/vitae-publications/reports/vitae-what-do-research-staffdo-next-2016. pdf. van der Weijden, I. C. M., de Gelder, E. J., Teelken, J. C., & Thunnissen, M. (2017). Which Grass is Greener?: Personal stories from PhDs about their careers within and outside of academia. Wille, L., Legrand, V., Mortier, A., & Levecque, K. (2020). PhD holders through the eyes of non-academic employers: A state-of the-art literature review. ECOOM-brief 32.
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