New report by gives insight into the latest recruitment trends


The jobs market is becoming more challenging and competitive post-PhD, therefore it is important for early career researchers and those that support researchers to understand the changing environment. An analysis of the types of jobs being advertised for early career researchers can help to understand career opportunities and progression pathways. conducted an in-depth study based on 53,000 job adverts placed by the UK and Ireland HE sector in 2015 on as well as trends from 2010-15 on the overall job numbers. At the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2016, Alison Osborne from presented the findings of the report at the workshop ‘Academic, research and teaching recruitment trends - An insight into UK & Ireland higher education labour market’. The interactive session also analysed job adverts against core competencies in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to provide insights into how to help researchers prepare for their next career move. You can view the conference slides here.

Key findings of the report:

  • 48% of adverts placed on in 2015 were academic, research or teaching roles
  • 44% of academic, research or teaching roles were researcher roles
  • There were 11,654 researcher opportunities in the UK and Ireland on in 2015
  • The researcher adverts averagely see 1,118 page views and 33 apply clicks*
  • 92% of opportunities were contract/temporary
  • 92% of opportunities were offered on a full-time basis
  • 68% of these roles were advertised with a salary between £30,000-£39,999
  • Most roles were advertised in South East England
  • The key times of year for researcher roles is May, July and October.

*When we refer to ‘Average Apply Clicks’, we refer only to clicks made directly to the ‘Apply’ button as we do not measure links within the advert

It was discovered when doing the analysis that the range of job titles within the ‘Researcher’ category is very diverse. Within this section, roles include everything from Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Research scientist, Research analyst and Bioinformatician to more niche roles such as Travelling Fellowship in Medical Sciences, Anatomy Demonstrators/Clinical Fellows in General Surgery, Project Worker and Science and Technology Grant Information Fellow. There were over 900 job titles that didn’t fit the traditional role titles people might expect to see. This is worth noting to candidates looking for researcher opportunities not to limit their job search by these more traditional job titles, but to look at the wider picture so they don’t miss an opportunity.

For further insight into the UK & Ireland higher education recruitment report you can download the ‘Academic, Research & Teaching Talent Trends’ report as a pdf file here.

Vitae, and have formed a collaboration to enhance our offering to the sector through supporting PhDs, researchers and researcher developers with a range of tools, research and thought leadership pieces. Together we have a unique opportunity to listen to our global audiences and their challenges and turn this learned knowledge into actions to help with the circulation of talent and improve the sector.  If you have any ideas for what you would like us to look at together please get in touch.