Skyscrapers at Potsdamer Square

Career options in industry and society

Information on changing from academia to other professional areas
Skyscrapers at Potsdamer Square

Only a small percentage of postdocs remain permanently in academia after the doctorate. Activities in various professional fields such as research and development, management, public relations, foundations, educational institutions and ministries are the rule rather than the exception for doctoral graduates - even though one often gets the impression within the university that a career in academia is the norm and everything else is merely "Plan B".

Is there a "too late" for the change?

The first one to two years after completing your doctorate (early postdoctoral phase) are a good time to change career fields. For a management position in research and development in industry, further research and management experience as a postdoc can also be useful - however, it is then important that you also work on relevant new topics and take responsibility for projects and people. In most cases, the more straightforward the transition after the doctorate or after a short postdoc project, the better. A longer stay in academia raises the question of whether applying outside is really the first choice or more of a stopgap measure.

Biological age also plays a role: some companies name an age limit of 35 years, above which they would hardly hire someone who has just come out of academia. As a rule, the older someone is, the more difficult it is to adjust to a new way of working and company culture.

Therefore: If you know that you will not stay in academia permanently, then tackle the change soon! Every year that you still work within academia should be worthwhile: Either because you learn something that is useful to you outside, or because you enjoy the current work so much that you want to savour it for some more time.

How do I find suitable career options?

Tips for finding suitable career options and employers (beyond job fairs):

Support services of Jena University on career options and application strategies

The Friedrich Schiller University offers doctoral candidates and postdocs various opportunities to find out about career options and application strategies or to receive individual advice:

Permanent positions at the academic mid-level faculty
Information on permanent positions for academic researchers or "Akademischer Rat"