Discover: careers beyond academia

Find out more about possibilities and options for careers in other sectors

BACK TO for researchers

Introduction

For many early stage researchers there is a glorious career waiting for them outside of the academic world. Find out about where researchers are working, what competencies are valued and how they feel about their roles.

 

There are many positive reasons to look at careers outside of academia. Understanding the opportunities available to you and the value of your experience, skills and competencies means that you will be able to make future career choices that best suit you as you go through life.

Below are some of the main reasons researchers identified for transitioning from academia:

 

  • I wanted to be employed on a longer term contract
  • I was looking for variety of long term employment prospects
  • I was looking for more job security
  • I was looking for different professional challenges
  • I wanted a better work-life balance

Some key advice

  • Think of the possiblities other sector offer – There are a wide range of opportunities available to you which may well be a better fit to your skills. It is important to have knowledge of them.
  • You will always be a researcher - many people working outside are still continuing with their research.  The skills you developed as a researcher will be incredibly useful to you whatever your future role.
  • You have to manage your own career – career management is an ongoing process which you need to drive. No one will be able to do it for you. As a researcher you have the competencies to fully investigate the options.
  • Believe in your skills and competencies – you have a high level of competency in many areas. Make employers see how good you are.

 

 

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Talent, Scientist, Researcher

EURAXESS - Researchers in motion

Where can I find my next career?

Find out in which sector you can find your career path outside the academia.

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Economic Sectors & Occupations

What do you want to be?

Find out what occupations researchers just like you are working in

and what the skills needed to work in those occupations are.

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What am I most qualified for?

In order to find the career path most suitable to you, think about the competencies which you excel at. Here you can begin the search for your new career.

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Plan your career

When considering the next step in your career it is essential to take some time to reflect on your own motivations in order to understand what you want from a future job role. People that are happy and successful in what they do have usually found an occupation and place of work that they love and understanding what that looks like for you is important when considering making a career transition.

 

Take some time to reflect on some of the following:

  • What are your capabilities and expertise?
  • What goals do you have for your own future?
  • What does worklife balance look like for you?
  • What are your values and motivations?
  • What do you not like to do?

This should be a really positive process which can be neglected particularly when people are busy.  Make sure that you give yourself the time to do this properly.

Find out more about understanding yourself

Use the No LImits: exploring careers for researchers toolkit

PIPERS toolkit

More information on free career assessment tools can be found in this article.

 

 

Finding opportunities

Placements in another sector can be extremely beneficial both in developing your skills and allowing you to sample a different role.  Benefits include:

  • A fresh perspective. Bridge the knowledge gap between university research and the needs of business, industry, government and the not-for-profit sector
  • Self-awareness. Build awareness of your personal preferences, self-confidence and self-esteem through experiential learning
  • Professional skills. Develop complementary professional experience, knowledge and skills in a client focused or other non-HE environment
  • Commercial awareness. Experience how business priorities impact every aspect of an organisation and how the market affects business decisions
  • Teamwork skills. Work in a multi-disciplinary/functional team
  • Apply research skills. Learn to problem-solve within a commercially-driven timeframe
  • Share your approach. Demonstrate the relevance of research to a wider audience
  • Build a network. Develop new relationships to support your future career development
  • Broaden your horizons. Develop your knowledge of available opportunities and options for future career directions.

Opportunities for placements differ depending on countries and sectors but if you think it would be worth pursuing you should encourage your institution to support you or establish their own scheme. Research-active institutions can work with commercially-driven, not-for-profit or public-funded organisations on one-off placements or to set up on-going schemes. This approach can bring research and innovation to organisations without current capacity and can enable universities to engage more deeply with non-HE employers. It offers valuable opportunities for individual researchers to develop their professional skills and to broaden their outlook and career options.

 

Getting the job

 

 

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Career stories of researchers working beyond academia.

Read or watch inspiring career stories from researchers who are now working in other sectors.  The stories concentrate on how they made their transition and the advice that they would give to others in a similar position.

Video testimonials