PhD…what's next?

While finding a permanent position in academia is the standard career goal of most doctoral students, half of them eventually work outside this field according to the latest study published on May 31st by Adoc Talent Management (Emploi 2017). This suggests that during their doctoral training, PhDs have developed competencies that are also suitable for non-academic jobs. Indeed, in our knowledge-based society, the benefits of hiring a PhD are becoming increasingly clear to companies. These skills can be used to improve and accelerate innovation.

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Policy-makers in Europe aim to foster a wide diffusion of PhDs outside of academic research (Koch Christensen, 2005). Similar trends can be observed, for instance, in Australia (Neumann and Tan, 2011; Pearson et al., 2011) and in the USA (Kehm, 2006). In this context, the focus on doctoral education has shifted from the ‘PhD as a product’--that is, the contribution to the advancement of knowledge through an original piece of research-- to the ‘PhD as a process,’-- training providing the competencies necessary to become a “knowledge worker” matching the needs of the global labor market in a knowledge-based economy (Park, 2005; Buckley et al., 2009). 

Since 2008, Adoc Talent Management is specialized in the management of the professional career of PhDs thanks to three activities: recruitment, training, and innovation & studies. Because of their integration into the PhD ecosystem, Adoc Talent Management better helps companies to find first-class employees and PhDs to find their dream job.

 Providing both PhDs and employers with a clearer picture of the skills acquired through doctoral training is therefore likely to increase and diversify alternative PhD careers in the global employment market. Adoc Talent Management previously conducted a large study in France where 2794 PhDs responded to a survey. From this data, we built a reference framework containing 111 skills, offering a complete panorama of competencies developed by PhD holders. We also highlighted a strong relationship between these competencies and the employment market needs (Durette et al., 2014). Next, the yearly survey, “Emploi,” confirmed the added-value of the doctorate and how the competencies developed were strong assets for PhDs professional career in the long term. In particular, the most valuable competencies cited by PhDs, 5 years after graduation, are scientific and technical skills, higher cognitive skills (analysis, synthesis, management of complex problems), autonomy and communication (Emploi 2017).

Demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will rise by 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2018), and PhDs will be the best providers of such competencies in an all-in-one package!



Valérie Drouet, PhD
Marketing & Communication Manager at Adoc Talent Management