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Careers outside academia – for doctoral graduates

Doctoral graduates are eminently employable, there is no doubt about that. The skills postgraduates acquire during doctoral studies are extremely interesting to the labour market outside universities

You have the ability to:

  • carry out scientific analysis and independent critical examination and assessment of new complex phenomena, issues and situations.
  • critically, independently, creatively and with scientific accuracy, identify and formulate issues and conduct research and other advanced tasks within specified time limits, and then scrutinise and evaluate such work.
  • both in the spoken and written form, with authority, present and discuss research.
  • identify the necessity of further knowledge.

Tell people what you can do

  • demonstrate your abilities to formulate and communicate knowledge, the understanding, skills and abilities that you have gained from your education at doctoral level in a manner that is accessible both inside and outside academia.

The value of doctoral studies outside the academic world

  • One-third of those who took a doctorate in 2006 were employed at a Swedish university in 2011.
  • 65% percent of those who left the academic world say that they have a job based on the skills they built up through doctoral studies. These jobs could not be done by someone with only a first degree.
  • The skills in least demand are those linked to specialist knowledge in their thesis field.

Who leaves the academic world and why?

  • Women often leave academia due to poor working conditions.
  • Men leave to get higher salaries or better career opportunities.

A PhD says:

“I increased my salary by nearly 40% when I left the academic world and began working with others who valued my competence and shared their skills, then my self-confidence grew. I do not regret that I left the academic world.”

Recommended union
In Saco there are several unions that organise PhDs in all sectors. The union that suits you best depends on the faculty you were working at.

Learn more about Saco unions here!

SULF – we know higher education! The Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers, SULF, is the association for university teachers, researchers and doctoral candidates. Join us today!