A recent call has been made to reform the PhD system so that it is better matched to the swiftly evolving job market 1. Mark Taylor, author of ‘Crisis on Campus’, has been quick to point out that the number of PhD students exceeds the number of academic positions available and says that there simply aren’t enough industrial jobs out there to pick up the slack. Put briefly, the PhD is becoming less elite than it once was and certainly isn’t a free pass to employment.
Some new suggestions to address this issue may well ruffle the feathers of a few academics – who are used to having cheap PhD students to carry out their research – but will hopefully prepare the students more fully for their own career ahead. Suggestions include:
- Informing students that they may need to seek employment outside the UK
- Altering the PhD to a more broad based skill set (for example, management training)
- Making all PhD training as cross-disciplinary as possible
- Allowing students time to study abroad or in an industrial setting
- Shutting down out-dated training centres
However the situation pans out, it’s clear that the PhD as we know it may never be the same again.
More information on this story will be available soon in the GIST first podcast.