Vitae, the UK Research Council funded organisation which supports “the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff”, is now asking for your support – to tell employers the real value of a research degree and experience.
Universities and “The Real World” – one and the same?
From the way people casually throw around terms like “the real world” when referring to life outside academia, you’d think university researchers inhabited some alternative universe, peopled with dilettantes foppishly lugging teddy bears around, occasionally turning up at noon for a little light reading followed by sherry in the Common Room (or is that just life in the Careers Service?).
You know that’s nonsense of course – but can you convince all those employers of the value of your research experience?
Tell it like it is
Vitae is looking for real examples from your research experience (either as a doctoral researcher or member of research staff at the university) to make employers sit up and challenge their stereotypes of researchers who can’t operate outside the ivory tower.
As Tristram Hooley from Vitae says,
“We know that researchers have got lots of skills that non-HE employers would really value. The problem is that when we are talking to employers we often have to talk in the abstract. So we are trying to bring together a range of examples of the kinds of things that researchers do that employers should know about. This is an opportunity to tell employers about what a researcher actually does and to explain how this experience helps to develop skills that could be useful in other contexts.”
The areas where they’re looking for compelling evidence of the value of research experience are :
- Working with others
- Analytical thinking
- Data analysis
- Creative thinking (innovation)
- Communication, written and/or oral
- Project Management
- Problem Solving
- Commercial awareness
- Financial awareness
- Being pro-active
To have your say and play your part in changing the view of employers, add a comment to their blog post about Researcher Skills.