Transitions from academia to industry: how do doctorate holders fit inReport as inadecuate

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(2010)M&SS Working Paper.8. Mark abstract In policy debates, an often mentioned reason to explain the limited mobility from academia to industry is the supposed mismatch of skills needed in these different settings. In this article we contribute to this skills debate by (1) examining the career intentions of Flemish doctorate holders towards industry and other sectors; and (2) by establishing the extent to which doctoral candidates and employers in industry in Flanders differ in their views on the skills needed to perform well in this sector. To answer these questions, we draw on several data sources. The Survey of Junior Researchers (SJR) provides information on the doctoral candidates’ perspective on these matters, whereas the Research & Development Survey of Flemish companies reflects the employers’ views. Additional data obtained through qualitative research - using interviews with both doctorate holders and employers - provides a more in depth understanding of the transition from academia to industry. A mismatch between what doctoral candidates consider important skills for a job in industry, and what employers expect from researchers is observed. The importance of technical skills and more transferable competencies such as project management and business skills are underestimated by doctoral candidates. This raises questions on the awareness among doctoral candidates of the skills needed for a career outside academia, and on whether providing them with adjusted training and career planning could better prepare them for work in non-academic settings.

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Author: Hannelore De Grande , Katrien De Boyser , Karen Vandevelde and Ronan Van Rossem



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