Career patterns and competences of PhDs in science and engineering in the knowledge economy: The case of graduates from a UK research-based university
Based on data collected through a complex survey of science and engineering PhD graduates from a UK research-based university, this paper examines the different types of careers and to what extent different types of competences acquired from doctoral education are regarded as valuable in the different career types. The results show that employment outside the conventional technical occupations is the main destination for the survey respondents. This career type is not only successful at retaining its members, but is also the destination of the other career types. Moreover, different types of competences from doctoral education are regarded as relatively more valuable in different career types: knowledge directly tied to subject areas is regarded as more valuable in academia/public research; both knowledge directly tied to subject areas (but more general type of knowledge rather than specialist knowledge in PhD topics) and the more general and transferable skills are regarded as valuable in technical positions in manufacturing; and the general and transferable skills are regarded as more valuable in employment outside the conventional technical occupations. In absolute terms, general analytical skills and problem solving capability acquired from doctoral education are perceived as valuable in all three career types.
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