International coalition calls for better preparation for careers outside of academia for PhD holders


As the number of Ph.D.s granted continues to outpace employment availability in academia, a report from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) calls for institutions globally to offer non-academic career preparation programs for postdoctoral researchers and Ph.D. students.

Download to read the full OECD report “Reducing the precarity of academic research careers.”

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 The intergovernmental coalition argues that the relative lack of opportunities in this area often leaves researchers feeling unprepared for non-academic jobs.

In a new Nature article introducing the report, Susi Varvayanis, executive director of the Graduate School’s Careers Beyond Academia, speaks about the progress being made in the U.S. and Canada to prepare doctoral students and postdocs for a wide variety of careers.

Read the full Nature article

Reducing the precarity of academic research careers

This report analyses academic research careers, with a focus on the “research precariat”, defined as postdoctoral researchers holding fixed-term positions without permanent or continuous employment prospects. It identifies policies and practices that aim to improve researchers’ well-being, develop more diverse, equitable and inclusive research systems, attract and retain the best talent in academia, and ultimately improve the quality of science. The report presents a conceptual framework and synthesis of available data and policy information. It draws on a survey of OECD countries that included country notes and interviews with policy officials, funders, representatives of research performing organisations and researchers. It offers recommendations and a set of policy options to improve working conditions and professional development, better link funding to human resource policies, make governance more inclusive, promote equal opportunities and diversity, improve human resource management, promote inter-sectoral and international mobility, and develop the evidence base on research careers.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) develops evidence-based policy advice on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Policy Papers cover a broad range of topics, including industry and globalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific R&D and emerging technologies. These reports are officially declassified by an OECD Committee.