The precarity of the academic job market appears to be a prominent theme at present, alongside the shear competition for academic roles. Last week I had the pleasure of participating in a google hangout hosted by Vitae, titled Successful career planning for researchers. The discussion that took place further enforced the concern that exists around these issues. Despite this, statistics relating to academic recruitment have not been widely available up until now, making informed career choices tricky. This is where jobs.ac.uk can help, through both our academic trends report and the forthcoming analysis of our career pathways survey.
Starting conversations and creating a stronger narrative
Building stronger narratives around the themes of precarity and competition in the academic jobs market is a much-needed step forward in terms of aiding career planning. And it’s great to see piirus.ac.uk playing its part.
Jenny Delasalle addressed the issue of academic precarity not so long ago on this blog, encouraging people to be positive and embrace the fact they are not tied to one specific role. Additionally, the hyper competition that exists in the academic job market has been highlighted by myself (‘Career pathways post-PhD – the impact of increased competition’) and guest blogger Doug Rocks-Macqueen, who breaks down the likelihood of getting an academic job by discipline. Lynn Kamerlin and Gareth O’Neill present similarly striking overview of the intense competition that exists across the EU for academic rolls.
People will ultimately follow their own decisions when it comes to career planning, but recognising that a career outside of academia, or even a portfolio career are equally valuable and should not just be seen as an ‘alternatives’ are just some of the steps we can take to start to build a more diverse narrative that values all career pathways post-PhD.
What will the academic trends report tell me?
You can use the report, among other ways, to profile a range of academic roles and to better understand what type of contracts are most common (permanent versus contract/temporary), whether posts tend to be full or part-time, salary ranges and number of applications per role (see example profile below). All this is highly useful if you are considering a specific career path and want to know the level of competition for different roles, and whether you are likely to be dealing with precarity.
Headlines: Academic trends report
The analysis captured in our academic trends report was of jobs advertised in the UK and Ireland in 2015 (approx. 54000 jobs). Overall, of the jobs advertised:
- 87% were full-time
- 40% permanent roles
- 20% of the academic roles were lectureships
- Of those lectureships 76% were offered on a permanent basis
- 44% were for research roles
- A large % of these research roles were fixed term as they were attached to funding
- 42% of the academic, research and teaching roles were in the South East of England and London
- Adverts were fairly evenly spread across the year but around 20% were advertised in June and July.
Career pathways survey
Our careers pathways survey captured 5199 responses from those who had completed a PhD, and while the results have not yet been compiled into a report, the statistics promise to further help set the record straight, dispel any myths associated with post-PhD careers and strengthen new narratives around post-PhD careers. Here are some of the numbers that stand out:
- 60% decided to do doctoral study with the aim to become an academic
- 76% on completing doctoral studies initially pursued a career to become an academic
- 31% currently have a permanent position in academia
- 67% are still actively seeking a permanent academic role
- 86% said their current role uses transferable skills gained from their doctoral study
Adding ‘evidence’ to our post-PhD career narratives
I’m proud of the work we are doing to build a better picture of the academic jobs market and post-PhD career pathways. The academic trends report brings some much-needed statistics into focus, and I look forward to sharing the final report on post-PhD career pathways. I’m sure that both piirus.ac.uk and jobs.ac.uk will play a leading role in shaping future content around these reports and ensuring that future narratives on the academic jobs market and career planning look at both the positive and negative sides of the discussion. But for me, the emphasis is on the positive and dynamic places your PhD can take you.