PhD Zone: Talk directly to employers

adelphiphdzoneAs part of our annual “Pathways: Careers Options for Researchers” programme, we bring a select group of employers together to answer your questions about what employers look for in applicants who have a PhD, in our PhD and Researchers Zone at the Graduate Recruitment Fair.

  • When?
    Wednesday 12th June 2013
  • Where?
    Armitage Centre, Fallowfield, alongside the first day of the Graduate Recruitment Fair
  • Who can attend?
    Any current or recent PhDs or doctoral research staff, from any university
  • How do I book a place?
    You don’t have to! However, if you register beforehand, it will make it much quicker to get into the event (otherwise, you’ll be made to register on the door)
  • More info here: PhD & Researcher Career Zone

Who will be there?
At the moment (be warned – we sometimes have drop-outs on the day!), the employers signed up to attend are:

There will also be a stand for careers and employability advice, staffed by me and other careers and researcher development colleagues, to answer any general careers queries – or give you an extra confidence boost before you go and tackle all those employers.

I think this is the strongest range of employers we’ve ever had at the PhD Zone. We normally have a good selection of employers looking for physical science, engineering and IT specialists, but this time, we’ve also got 3 employers targeting life and medical sciences researchers, and several consultancies and other employers who will consider any discipline (some – but not all – will expect you to be interested in applying technology, maths or statistics to business problems but that doesn’t mean you have to be a programmer).

Will they all have current vacancies for PhDs?
No. They are all interested in recruiting people with PhDs – at some point, but not necessarily right now. This means that even if you’re not actively looking for a job imminently, it’s worth coming along to talk to them, for future reference.

The aim of the PhD Zone is to allow you to quiz them on how they view PhDs, the value that PhDs can add to their organisations, and how they recruit PhDs, when they need them.

Why no public sector/arts/social sciences employers?
Unfortunately, those organisations either recruit PhDs in such small numbers or have such tight budgets that they can’t afford the resources to send someone to recruitment fairs. (Believe me, we try, including offering them the space for free!)

So not worth my while coming?
Hold on there! If you want to see if your skills could be put to good use in a business setting, come along with an open mind and see what the PhD Zone employers say – or see which other (non-business) employers are coming to the main fair. Talking of which …

Are there any other employers I can talk to?
Keep an open mind and come and talk to the 70+ employers in the main Graduate Recruitment Fair downstairs. They are looking for people who have degrees – and that includes you. A lot of the employers in the main fair look for graduates (including postgraduates) from a wide range of backgrounds, including humanities.

If you come to the first day of Pathways (Friday 7th June), you’ll probably hear from PhDs who started employment by using “graduate entry” points – and then hear about how they progressed much faster than other graduates, because of their maturity and advanced skills. Of course, the “graduate route” is not for everyone. This is our advice on deciding whether or not you should consider a “graduate job” after a PhD.

If you are open minded, on Wednesday 12th, other employers include Her Majesty’s Government Communication Centre, the Information Commissioner’s Office, News Associates (journalism courses), Teach First and the Teaching Agency, Creative Support (care provider) as well as lots of retail management, engineering, finance, IT and science employers and general recruitment agenciesthe full list here.

And there’s more – on Thursday 13th June, we have a whole different set of employers (but no PhD Zone that day). Employers on Thursday include the UK Civil Service, Government Operational Research Service, the Co-operative Group, the Local Government Association, the National Health Service Leadership Academy, Language Empire (interpreters and translators), and loads more retailers, engineering, finance, IT and science employers and general recruitment agenciesfull list here.

Want to know how the make the most of these recruitment events?
I know lots of you will have attended these fairs and come away saying they were pretty useless. If you’re not interested in jobs with any of the employers attending, or any similar employers, then there’s probably not a lot of point wasting your time.

However, I’m going to be controversial, and say that some of you were just asking the wrong questions – or expecting the wrong information.

Before you dismiss the idea of attending, try reading my advice on How to … make the most of careers events as a postgraduate. Then make up your mind!

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