The relevance of doctoral training in different labour markets

This study examines the relevance of doctoral training (thesis, coursework and generic skills) for a career in three types of labour market: academia, applied research institutes and industrial laboratories, and non‐research workplaces. Data are drawn from a mail survey among PhD holders in Norway. In total, more than 40% of the respondents had employment in a university or a university college, 25% in a research institute or industrial laboratory, and 30% other employment. Most PhD’s have used the knowledge they obtained in their thesis work in their present job, but a far larger share of those who continue in academia than of those who have found other employment state that they have used this kind of knowledge ‘to a very large degree’. The coursework is considered less useful in all three types of labour market, but in this respect differences between the three groups of respondents are much smaller. For those who find employment outside the research system, generic skills obtained during the doctoral period are most valued; in particular ‘training in systematic/analytical thinking’ and ‘training in handling complex problems’. The study discusses whether the content of ordinary PhD programmes should be diversified according to the needs of different job markets.

publication details

Title The relevance of doctoral training in different labour markets
Category Academic article
AuthorSvein Kyvik
AuthorTerje Bruen Olsen
publication year2011