According to a Recent Survey: Doctoral Students Are Afraid to Ask for Career Help
According to a 2017 survey conducted by Nature, which interviewed more than 5,700 doctoral students from Asia, Europe, and North America, PhD students are stressing about their futures and their abilities to find fulfilling and well-compensated careers after graduation.
Yet, despite the grim state of the academic job market, 52 percent of students are still hoping to find an academic career while only 22 percent define working in industry as a desirable alternative.
With a job market that still hasn’t shown signs of getting better soon, many doctoral students still struggle to find help. According to the survey, only 15 percent of students admitted having found useful information and support from their institutions, which is 3 percent less than a similar survey reported in 2015.
What is a cause for concern is that PhD students seem afraid to reach out to external resources to find the advice they need, and still heavily rely on their own research skills to find solutions. Sixty percent of students admitted relying on the internet to arrive at their current career decisions, while another important part of the respondents admitted relying on advice provided by supervisors (34 percent), colleagues (30 percent), or other researchers (30 percent), in other words, other academics who have limited expertise on non-academic employment.
While one could argue that the academic work culture could be to blame in explaining why many students are still pursuing academia despite ideal working conditions, one can only wonder what keeps PhD students from seeking outside help when time comes to make career decisions. Is the reason tied to the alarming number of graduate students who, according to the same survey, struggle with their mental health?
Why are PhD students afraid to ask for career help? Why do they choose to deal with their career futures alone?
Shame? Lack of insight? Limited awareness? Hopelessness? Arrogance?
What do you think?
Need some help and don’t know who to turn to? Download our free The Quick Guide to Choosing The Right Career Consultant