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
Since increasing numbers of doctorate holders enter the non-academic labor market, scholars have raised the need to transform doctoral education from being the training of academics to the training of versatile professionals (Fillery-Travis & Robinson, 2018). This has led to the creation of multiple models of doctoral education (e.g., research doctorate, professional doctorate, etc.; Bao, Kehm, & Ya, 2018) while putting the acquisition of transferable skills high on agenda for institutions and policymakers alike (Kehm, Shin & Jones, 2018; OECD, 2020). Transferable skills include general skills, such as collaboration, which can be applied to different sectors, as opposed to specialized skills that are discipline-based. Although there is a general agreement on the importance of transferable skills, there is still a debate about which skills should be acquired, in what form (obligatory vs. voluntary), and how (supervisors vs. training experts) (Horta, 2010; Mowbray & Halse, 2010). Based on two studies, including doctorate holders (Study 1) and employers (Study 2), we aim to understand the skills (mis)match of doctorate holders who work inside and outside academia, analyze the link between their acquired skills and their career choice, and evaluate the convergences and divergences that exist between doctorate holders and employers. In Study 1, based on the “Future of PhD holders” online survey (Bebiroglu, Dethier, & Ameryckx, 2019), which included 2055 doctorate holders from all six French-speaking universities in Belgium, we present data on skills doctorate holders perceive they lack in the workplace. Our initial analyses indicate that both for doctorate holders working inside (n = 912) and outside academia (n = 1,143), the most important skills not acquired during doctoral training but later used in the workplace are “collaboration and teamwork”, “social skills” and “general management skills”. We then analyze the link between the skills they have acquired and their career choice. In study 2, based on the “Recruiting Talents” online survey, which is currently in progress, we will provide data on the skills employers look for in doctorate holders and perceive they have (not) acquired. Doctorate holders are considered to play a strategic role in the promotion of innovation ecosystems. Therefore, it is particularly important to equip them with skills they may later apply in their work environment. Based on insights coming from both doctorate holders and employers, our findings will provide valuable information on how universities can enhance their doctoral education to help with the job transition of doctorate holders.
Bao, Y., Kehm, B. M., & Ma, Y. (2018). From product to process. The reform of doctoral education in Europe and China. Studies in Higher Education, 43(3), 524-541. Bebiroglu, N., Dethier, B., & Ameryckx, C. (May, 2019). Employment status of PhD holders in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. ORCS Thematic Report Series #1, Observatory of Research and Scientific Careers, Brussels, Belgium. http://www.observatoire.frs-fnrs.be/docs/REPORT%20EMPLOYMENT%20ENG_FINAL.pdf Fillery-Travis, A., & Robinson, L. (2018). Making the familiar strange–a research pedagogy for practice. Studies in Higher Education, 43(5), 841-853. Horta, H. (2020). PhD Students’ Self-Perception of Skills Acquired During Their PhD and Plans for Their Postdoctoral Careers: A Joint Analysis of Doctoral Students at Three Flagship Universities in Asia. In Structural and Institutional Transformations in Doctoral Education (pp. 275-323). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Kehm, B. M., Shin, J. C., & Jones, G. A. (2018). Conclusion: Doctoral Education and Training–A Global Convergence?. In Doctoral education for the knowledge society (pp. 237-255). Springer, Cham. Mowbray, S. & Halse, C. (2010) The purpose of the PhD: theorizing the skills acquired by students. Higher Education Research & Development, 29:6, 653-664, DOI:10.1080/07294360.2010.487199 OECD. (2020). Reducing the precarity of research careers. Retrieved from https://community.oecd.org/events/4551
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