After your doctorate
Doing your doctorate may be part of a clear career strategy, an attempt to change direction or simply an interesting opportunity. Continuing in academia is no longer a certainty, neither is it necessarily the most desirable option after a doctorate. Even if you are clear about what you want to do, you can still think about how to achieve your aims and consider alternatives in case plan A is not successful.
Gaining useful skills and experience can enhance your employability. You may also find opportunities to explore possible career paths through work placements. Teaching or demonstrating during your doctorate is one example and your institution might have links to employers or even a placement scheme.
If you haven’t yet made up your mind, you are not alone: Data from our 2012 report What Do Researchers Want To Do? shows that only around a third of 4,500 current postgraduate researchers had definite ideas about their future careers, and about a fifth had little or no idea. Of those who did have established ideas, the great majority intended to pursue occupations related to their research discipline. Overall, nearly half of respondents with well-established ideas aspired to a career in higher education and a quarter wanted to do research outside the higher education sector; the latter was seen as an alternative for many considering a higher education career although there are significant variations by discipline.