I was speaking to an employer this week who asked me to let PGR students know about their vacancy website for experienced hires, as they felt that PhDs might have specific experience which would qualify them for these posts. For those of you with relevant backgrounds, the employer was Jaguar Land Rover and you can look at the jobs here, but this is also a wider issue for anyone considering a career outside academia – does a PhD count as experience?
Some surveys have been carried out by the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and Vitae, and the good news is that both studies found that around 7 in 10 respondents were interested in recruiting PhD graduates, but there was variation between those employers who specifically targeted PhDs to fulfil niche roles (and were more likely to offer an enhanced salary or recruitment pathway) and those who recognised that postgraduates could offer added value, but generally recruited and rewarded them in the same way as good first degree graduates.
So if you’re considering a career path that isn’t directly related to your research, you may find that employers look for evidence of relevant experience over and above your degree. Of course PGRs don’t usually have the opportunity to undertake summer or sandwich placements, but there are other ways to gain valuable experience, for example through voluntary work, graduate internships or short placements at the end of your degree.
Our Work Experience Fair next week offers all of these and isn’t just for undergraduates, so if you think you might need to add some formal work experience to your CV come along to the Whitla Hall next Wednesday 9th between 11 and 3 to find out more about the opportunities on offer.