Career training should help researchers identify the various opportunities labour market offers to them and skills they will need to take advantage of these opportunities. The training that fulfils this expectation should therefore be anchored in the good understanding of labour market and its specifics.

Platforms such as EURAXESS, Nature Careers, Science Careers, Vitae or similar are a good source of information on general trends in the PhDs labour market. They also offer multiple examples of various career paths for researchers. Discipline specific sources could also be considered (e. g. webpages and newsletters of scientific associations, major journals).

If the training also should help match PhD graduates with the opportunities in the region, deeper analysis of the regional labour market is also needed. What kind of employers are there? How many of them do have any opportunities that would suit the skills of PhDs? And what kind of opportunities do they offer? Be prepared that such analysis might take a bit more time and involvement as common labour market information usually do not specifically target PhD graduates.

In general, the analysis should focus on identification of employers offering:

  • Positions that include research and development
  • Positions that do not include R&D but require advanced skills and where employer might benefit from the set of skills PhD graduates can offer (analytical thinking, understanding research, scientific writing and writing in general etc.)

For example, pharma industry offers the opportunities in research but also the whole range of positions that do not include research but require good understanding of scientific literature and research process. And company that does not have own R&D might require advanced data analysis and string conceptual thinking for some positions.

While it might be relatively easy to identify opportunities offered by large employers, those offered by small companies might be less visible. Innovation actors such as clusters, chambers of commerce or networks such as Enterprise Europe Network can be helpful in this regard (see e. g, report on opportunities in life science published by LisaVienna or the one made on innovative companies in Slovakia prepared by SARIO). Technology transfer office at the university might be an excellent source of information as they are also interested in collaboration with innovative companies. It is also worth exploring possibilities offered by LinkedIn.

How we did it in the CARLiS project

The first part of the labour market analysis was focused on the identification of companies based in the Bratislava and Trnava region, operating in the field of life sciences. We set the criteria on the basis of which the individual companies were evaluated. A total of 97 LS companies in Bratislava and Trnava region were identified, out of which only 45 met inclusion criteria. This part of the analysis was a key input for identifying companies for expert interviews. The second part of the analysis focused on study statistics, employers, the business sector, job vacancies, skills requirements and training opportunities.  Members of the consortium conducted interviews with representatives of companies operating in the field of LS to find out about requirements for hiring PhD graduates, recruitment practices,  positions and responsibilities PhD graduates typically take and added-value they bring. In addition, these meetings were also used to identify and address company representatives as potential collaborators / external trainers for the needs of the project at a later stage of its implementation.

Learn more here.