Self-perceived employability of doctoral candidates in social scientists in Scottish Higher Education Institutions

Elena Golovushkina, Colin Milligan

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Past few years have seen a lot of attention to the issues of employability and its
    development in the context of Higher Education. Increasingly the discussions in this area are focused not only on developing employability of undergraduate students but also that of doctoral researchers. PhD graduates are expected to possess a large number of skills, knowledge and attitudes to meet the needs of the knowledge economy. As a result, many UK HEIs have adopted a new Researcher Development Framework (RDF) that provides the guidelines on the types of attributes that researchers at different stages are expected to possess. RDF has been adopted for the purposes of this study to develop an online survey. The aim of the survey was to investigate the perceptions of doctoral candidates on the issues of employability, its development and the way doctoral candidates themselves perceive the attributes they possess. The paper presents the results of an online survey conducted among 175 social science doctoral candidates in Scottish Higher Education Institutions. The views of doctoral candidates were explored in relation to 4 areas: a) Knowledge and intellectual abilities; 2) Personal effectiveness; 3) Research governance and organisation; 4) Engagement, influence and impact. The initial findings suggest that doctoral candidates are confident with the level of their research-related skills and knowledge such as knowledge of the main concepts and theoretical approaches in their field, research methods and techniques as well as the ability to run a project. At the same time the respondents expressed concerns in relation to the level of their time management skills, the ability to attract research funding and commercial awareness. Also the research shows that a large number of doctoral candidates experience difficulties with engagement of public in their research. Providing an insight into the views of the main stakeholders of PhD process, doctoral candidates themselves, the study identifies potential gaps in development of early stage researchers in Scottish HEIs
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • doctoral candidates
    • Scotland
    • employability


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