D3 - Academic career progression - what does it take to make the first big step?

Day 2 at 13:45 - Careers advisers and staff developers working with researchers aiming for a sustainable academic career will know that many are aspiring and often struggling to obtain a job as a lecturer. This role is seen as a sign of achievement and independence and often contractually marks the significant step from fixed term contracts to an ongoing secure employment. The AGCAS Research Staff task group have gathered information on academic career progression across research disciplines and institutions in the UK by designing, executing and analysing an on line survey of experienced academics on an anonymous basis. The survey entitled "Getting the first lecturing job" produced some fascinating insights and findings. Strand - All Researchers (practice).
Day Day 2
Session D
Start time 13:45
Strand All Researchers (practice)
Code D3

Ms Clare Jones - Senior Careers Adviser Research Staff/Postgraduate Research Students, University of Nottingham

Dr Calum Leckie - Careers Consultant and Joint Deputy Head of UCL Careers Service, University College London

The survey offered:

  • interesting and candid comments by academics from 22 UK Universities clearly identifying the key attributes of new lecturers as:
    •  research excellence
    •  quality teaching experience
    •  collaborative working
    •  good communication.
  • detailed insight into the heightened level of competition within academic careers:

"As competition has increased and funding decreased in the UK, new Lecturers need to be able to hit the ground running"

The survey data offered further insights into these key attributes related to discipline differences (and similarities), stage of career and some sector influences, i.e. REF. Together with advice from participants on recruitment and selection practice, the survey outcomes allowed staff supporting researchers to enhance and develop their practice when working with researchers  who want to pursue an academic career

This workshop related to the theme of "sustainable practice to support researcher skills, professional and career development" and "developing a pipeline of research talent, including widening participation and attractiveness of research degrees" and  formed part of the dissemination plan for the survey.

Topics covered:

  • design and conduct of the survey
  • outcomes summary
  • employability for researchers - do disciplines differ?
  • using survey outcomes to inform training activities and informing researchers direct
  • informing future research.

Workshop outcomes:

  • more effectively advised researchers, interested postgraduates and graduates on how to prepare for a sustainable academic career
  • able to confidently articulate the key elements of employability for new lecturers in UK Higher Education (qualities, skills and experience)
  • incorporated additional tools and information into existing skills and career development programmes for researchers and planned for the introduction of new activities through free use of the research report results
  • took up the opportunity to feed back their views on the dissemination and use of the research report for future developments.


Presentation, themed discussions and practice development activities.