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From academia to industry: are doctorate holders ready?

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Abstract
In policy debates related to innovation potential, the limited mobility from academia to industry is often explained by the supposed mismatch of skills needed in these different settings. We contribute to this debate by (1) examining the attitudes of Flemish doctoral candidates towards careers in industry; and (2) by analysing the extent to which doctoral candidates and employers in industry in Flanders differ in their views on the skills needed to perform well in this sector. We combined survey data with qualitative research. The Survey of Junior Researchers provides information on the doctoral candidates’ perspective on these matters, whereas the Research & Development Survey of Flemish companies reflects the employers’ views. Additional data obtained through interviews with both doctorate holders and employers provide a more in depth understanding of the transition from academia to industry. A mismatch between what doctoral candidates consider important skills for a job in industry, and what employers expect from researchers is observed. The importance of technical skills and more transferable competencies such as project management and business skills are underestimated by doctoral candidates. The findings raise questions on the awareness among doctoral candidates of the skills needed for a career outside academia. Addressing possible negative attitudes, and providing adequate training and career planning could improve their preparation for work in non-academic settings, confirming findings in other countries that institutional programmes have a role to play in bridging the gap between employers' expectations and those of doctoral candidates.
Keywords
Career perspectives, Skills development, Intersectoral mobility, Employability, Skills mismatch, Doctoral training

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
De Grande, Hannelore et al. “From Academia to Industry: Are Doctorate Holders Ready?” JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY 5.3 (2014): 538–561. Print.
APA
De Grande, H., De Boyser, K., Vandevelde, K., & Van Rossem, R. (2014). From academia to industry: are doctorate holders ready? JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY, 5(3), 538–561.
Chicago author-date
De Grande, Hannelore, Katrien De Boyser, Karen Vandevelde, and Ronan Van Rossem. 2014. “From Academia to Industry: Are Doctorate Holders Ready?” Journal of the Knowledge Economy 5 (3): 538–561.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Grande, Hannelore, Katrien De Boyser, Karen Vandevelde, and Ronan Van Rossem. 2014. “From Academia to Industry: Are Doctorate Holders Ready?” Journal of the Knowledge Economy 5 (3): 538–561.
Vancouver
1.
De Grande H, De Boyser K, Vandevelde K, Van Rossem R. From academia to industry: are doctorate holders ready? JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY. Springer; 2014;5(3):538–61.
IEEE
[1]
H. De Grande, K. De Boyser, K. Vandevelde, and R. Van Rossem, “From academia to industry: are doctorate holders ready?,” JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 538–561, 2014.
@article{4338165,
  abstract     = {In policy debates related to innovation potential, the limited mobility from academia to industry is often explained by the supposed mismatch of skills needed in these different settings. We contribute to this debate by (1) examining the attitudes of Flemish doctoral candidates towards careers in industry; and (2) by analysing the extent to which doctoral candidates and employers in industry in Flanders differ in their views on the skills needed to perform well in this sector.  We combined survey data with qualitative research. The Survey of Junior Researchers provides information on the doctoral candidates’ perspective on these matters, whereas the Research & Development Survey of Flemish companies reflects the employers’ views. Additional data obtained through interviews with both doctorate holders and employers provide a more in depth understanding of the transition from academia to industry.  A mismatch between what doctoral candidates consider important skills for a job in industry, and what employers expect from researchers is observed. The importance of technical skills and more transferable competencies such as project management and business skills are underestimated by doctoral candidates.  The findings raise questions on the awareness among doctoral candidates of the skills needed for a career outside academia. Addressing possible negative attitudes, and providing adequate training and career planning could improve their preparation for work in non-academic settings, confirming findings in other countries that institutional programmes have a role to play in bridging the gap between employers' expectations and those of doctoral candidates.},
  author       = {De Grande, Hannelore and De Boyser, Katrien and Vandevelde, Karen and Van Rossem, Ronan},
  issn         = {1868-7865},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY},
  keywords     = {Career perspectives,Skills development,Intersectoral mobility,Employability,Skills mismatch,Doctoral training},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {538--561},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  title        = {From academia to industry: are doctorate holders ready?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13132-014-0192-9},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2014},
}

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