Moving on from being research staff

The majority of researchers will not carve out a whole career as a member of research staff. In many countries, research staff or postdoc positions are predominately fixed term contracts and few institutions have research career tracks. Research staff need to look at the range of opportunities available to them to build their career. Here you will find resources useful for this next career step.


Looking for jobs in higher education

Although it is challenging to find opportunities in academia, some research staff:

  • become independent group leaders
  • are employed in research and lecturing/teaching positions
  • move into non-academic posts within higher education, including administrative and staff development roles.

To succeed, you may need to be willing to relocate and take advantage of opportunities arising across a wide geographical area. Further information on pursuing an academic career

A high proportion of research staff working in higher education report having gained their current job through their networks.

Looking for jobs outside higher education

Research staff are likely to have a host of competencies relevant for careers outside academia. See the types of research skills especially useful to non-academic employers on the Employability lens in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework for careers outside academia. Many research staff do leave academia; search our career stories for inspiration. Information on the labour market may be helpful if you are considering this option. You may also find the following useful:

Career development

Regardless of the choice of career direction, research staff should be proactive and continue to develop their competencies. Our page on career management for researchers is a useful starting point, and you may also wish to consider: