Changing Career Pathways: Making Visible the Employment Destinations and Non-academic Contributions of Doctoral Scholars

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the changing career destinations of doctoral scholars. The expansion of doctoral education in recent decades has meant that most doctoral scholars will eventually secure employment outside of academia. Although this shift is welcomed by policymakers, it is persistently characterised as one that many doctoral scholars feel unprepared for and discontented with. This chapter connects doctoral scholars to a nuanced analysis of employment data from the UK, integrated with findings from other national studies, to inform and empower their career planning. It is clear from the analysis that hidden learning during the doctorate—informal knowledge, skills and experiences—is valued by non-academic employers. The chapter aspires to support doctoral scholars to reflect on the many possible pathways available after the PhD, and on the importance of nurturing hidden learning alongside the formal aspects of the doctorate. By demonstrating the diverse career roles and contributions of doctoral scholars, the chapter illuminates the twin hidden aspects of employment destinations and the value of doctoral skills beyond academia. By considering the Hidden Curriculum from an economic perspective, the chapter offers a basis for more tailored career guidance and to inform and strengthen doctoral scholars’ agency in developing their careers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping Researcher Independence Through the Hidden Curriculum
EditorsDely Elliot, Søren Bengtsen, Kay Guccione
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-42875-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-42874-6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2023

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