Each year we run a major university-wide programme, “Pathways – Career Options for Researchers”.
Pathways 2013 will take place on
- Friday 7th June ’13 – “Career Options” day with PhD and employer panellists
- Wednesday 12th June ’13 – PhD Zone with employers, at the Graduate Fair
Registration is now open for 2013.
Latest news about the 2013 event:
Pathways: Career Options for Doctoral Researchers – launch information (24th April)
PhD Zone: Talk to employers – who’s coming and full details of when/where/what (23rd May)
Pathways: The programme and the panellists – advance information of who will be there on the day (4th June)
The official event info and sign-up is here. If you want more informal detail and background, read on:
What is Pathways?
Now in its seventh year, the University of Manchester “Pathways” careers event for PhDs and research staff has to be the UK’s largest career options event for researchers, with
- 2 days of PhD and researcher careers events
- dozens of PhD qualified panellists, employers, trainers and advisers
- attended by over 800 researchers from Manchester and the North West
all focused just on PhDs and research staff.
Is it any good?
In 2009 we were shortlisted for a Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers, which is great recognition. However, what’s even better is that now we’re bringing back people who attended Pathways as students and researchers, and who are now successfully established in their new careers.
What to expect:
Day 1: Career Options – Friday 7th June 2013, Renold Building
The morning of Day 1 will consist of “Question and Answer” panel sessions with people who have either completed their PhDs or moved on from university research posts in the last 10 years. Several panel sessions will run in parallel from 10.00-1.00, alongside more informal individual or small group conversations about careers in our Career Lounge – and there’s a free lunch.
New this year:
In response to suggestions from our researcher advisory panel, the afternoon of Day 1 will consist of panels/workshops with employers and others, looking at the practicalities of getting jobs and marketing your PhD.
All four Faculties and the Careers Service collaborate to attract panellists who have already completed their PhDs and are now working in a wide range of careers to talk to our current PhDs and research staff. You can never tell where PhDs will end up in their careers, but we’re expecting to see panellists in careers ranging from academia, lab based jobs, media and publishing, banking and finance, teaching, communicating science, museums and libraries, business start up and more.
The panellists change each year, but as an example, here are the profiles of some of the panellists from 2012 (pdf). We will make the list of panellists for 2013 available in the week before the event (once they are finalised!)
As there will be several panels or workshops running concurrently, we won’t be asking you to sign up to individual sessions in advance (too complicated, and everyone always changes their mind on the day anyway) but we will try to run most panels more than once. On the day, it will be first come, first served for each panel. Surprisingly, this does seem to have worked remarkably well in previous years – sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
Day 2: PhD Zone @ The Graduate Fair – Wednesday 12th June 2013, Armitage Centre, Fallowfield
Four years ago, flying in the face of recession, we introduced the “PhD & Researcher Zone” at the Graduate Recruitment Fair, and it’s still going strong.
We set aside a room at the general Graduate Fair, dedicated to talking about how to find jobs if you have a PhD. This includes giving feedback on applications, and also gives you access to real employers who can give you tips about recruitment.
This event is open not only to University of Manchester researchers, but also to researchers from any university (no booking required).
Will I find a job at the PhD Zone?
Possibly – but probably not. Most employers of PhDs only look for one or two a year, so we don’t expect to see loads of stands offering oodles of PhD jobs, available right now. It’s more realistic to use it as an opportunity to pick the brains of employers, careers advisers and academics to figure out how to find your ideal job.
In addition, of course, as it’s part of the larger Graduate Recruitment Fair, there will be over 70 active recruiters available in the main fair to discuss your career plans and their current and future vacancies.
What about humanities/social sciences/clinical … employers?
If I’m honest, most of the employers who attend this PhD Zone target physical science or engineering PhDs or those who are interested in IT (whatever their discipline). Employers in the main fair will target a wider range of disciplines.
We’d love to have employers targeting humanities PhDs and all the specialist science/technical/clinical disciplines (we do try each year) but most PhDs in these fields work in one-off niche jobs, where employers only recruit occasionally – or they work in academia. Employers (including academics) won’t come to a recruitment event on the off-chance they might want to recruit one specialist sometime in the next 2 or 3 years.
However, whatever discipline you’re in, you can come and talk to the team of careers/academic advisers about strategies for looking for jobs to suit you, marketing your PhD, and you’re very welcome to come and talk to any employer. Who knows what tips you may pick up if you spread your net wider than jobs in your discipline?
Who can attend?
If you’re a current or recent PhD or member of research or teaching staff from the University of Manchester, this event is for you. Keep the dates free and work on your supervisor or PI to persuade them it’s in their interests to let you attend.
If you’re doing a PhD, you can attend in:
- your first year (to get you inspired & plan out all the fantastic things you’re going to do in your PhD)
- your second year (to reassure yourself that the pain will stop, eventually, and that everyone else feels the same way in their second year…)
- your 3rd/4th/5th/6th year (to convince yourself that you will finish this year, and there might be a way to be gainfully employed after all)
Over half of our panellists last year had post-doctoral research or teaching experience in addition to a PhD.
If you’re a member of research/teaching staff, I’d recommend attending as early as possible in your current contract. If you want to move on in academia, you’ll need to plan strategically to get the right publications, and make the right contacts. Talking to our panellists can help your find out how others have made that happen. If you might be considering a move outside academia, that’s perfectly possible – but it does take some planning. This is where you can talk to people who’ve successfully made that move.
I’ve been before – is there any point in me coming again?
Yes, if your career ideas have changed, or if you want to get more suggestions from PhDs who’ve “been there, done that”, on how to turn your career ideas into actions. Some of our panellists are regulars; some are new to the event – come and hear what they’ve got to say.
Not at the University of Manchester?
We’re delighted that a number of other universities in the North West make places available to their PhDs and researchers. Contact your skills training coordinator at your own university to find out if you can attend Day 1.
Any researcher from any university can attend Day 2, the PhD Zone @ The Graduate Fair (over 800 researchers attended in 2012)
Do I need to register?
For Day 1, you’ll need to pre-register – registration will open on 19th April.
If you’re from the University of Manchester, remember to bring your university swipe card for Fast Track entry on the day. (For those without a University of Manchester swipe card, there will be an alternative sign in procedure.)
What’s different for 2013?
- A new venue for Day 1 – we’re back in Renold Building (after a quick detour to University Place last year).
- We’re adding an employer/job seeking focus to the afternoon, for those who are at the stage of wanting to look for jobs (or want to get prepared).
Got a PhD and want to talk about your career?
Could you contribute to a panel?
This event can only run successfully thanks to the generous support of those who have “been there themselves”. If you have a PhD, ideally gained within the last 10 years or so, we’d love to hear from you – you don’t have to be a Manchester alumnus.
With the informal format of the event, there is no preparation required for taking part in Day 1, other than to give us brief career information which will be made available to delegates online. You tell us which times you are available (we really hope you can take part in at least 3 of the 5 sessions running on the day), and our professional Events Management team will do the rest.
On the day, we’ll organise and chair the panels for you, have lots of help on hand to let you know where you should be and to deal with any administrative issues, large or small, we’ll feed you and have (soft!) drinks on hand throughout the day in our “Green Room”, and take care of your travelling expenses.
A consistent message last year from participants was that they enjoyed themselves as much as the delegates, who were very appreciative of the time given up by those talking about their careers. You’re not expected to be career experts, just to give the benefit of your own experience – good and bad – to others following in your footsteps.
If you think you can help, please just drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to e-mail or phone you back to discuss it – we’d be delighted to hear from you.