What do research staff do next?

Preliminary findings from the 'What do research staff do next project?' indicate staff researchers leave academia in search of job security...

Earlier this year Vitae and Naturejobs have launched What do research staff do next? project to investigate the careers of research staff who have transitioned from research posts in European higher education institutions to other employment sectors.

So far we we have had around 1700 responses to our survey and we can now share some preliminary findings:

  • Respondents are most likely to have left research in higher education (postdoctoral work) for: more job security; not wanting to be employed on fixed term contracts; wanting a better work/life balance and actively wanting a career outside higher education research.
  • The challenges included dealing with their own and others’ perceptions of their move; letting go of their research and not knowing what was required in their new role.
  • In terms of making the move, they found their personal support networks helpful, and knowing that their research and general competencies were transferable very useful. Several mentioned the value of getting more experience of other environments, work shadowing, etc,  before making the move.
  • The advice they would give to others included: finding out what was most important for you, take yourself out of your comfort zone, stay in touch with colleagues and expect it to take time to find and settle into a new niche.

These first outcomes will be discussed at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference next week and we will release more information with the end of the first phase of the project, at the end of 2014. 

If you know any staff researchers who have pursued careers outside academic research, please share our survey with them.