In November 2021, the Graduate Campus, with the support of FORS, launched the first annual survey on the professional situation of UNIL PhDs three years after the public defence.
This report presents a descriptive analysis of the 2018+3 survey results. It provides a portrait of the 2018 cohort of UNIL doctorate holders three years after the public defense, in terms of their current professional situation, the relevance of the doctorate in their professional activity, and their expectations and satisfaction with their professional life after the doctorate.
The report also suggests avenues of reflection for future actions to be undertaken, by the Graduate Campus and in collaboration with other UNIL units, in connection with the UNIL 2021-2026 Statement of Intent.
Of the 290 doctoral graduates who defended in 2018 (PhD, MD-PhD or MD) in one of the seven UNIL faculties, 255 were contacted and 103 participated in the survey. The participation rate is thus 40%.
The sample of participants is composed of 46% women and 56% men. Almost half (48%) of the participants obtained their doctorate in FBM, 15% in SSP, 15% in GSE, 10% in HEC, 8% in Lettres, 5% in FDCA and 1% in FTSR.
- Unemployment rate similar to that of Switzerland: At the time of the survey, 92% of the participants were gainfully employed, while 3% of the participants responded that they were registered as unemployed.
- A diversity of employment sectors: The public sector and the higher education sector each employ about one third of professionally active participants (34% and 32% respectively), the private sector slightly less (27%) and the private non-profit sector 7%.
- The academic path: Nearly 60% of professionally active participants are pursuing an academic career (entirely or in parallel with other activities).
- Fixed-term contracts in academic positions: Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those employed in the higher education sector are employed on a fixed-term contract.
- Job satisfaction: 81% of participants who are currently working are fully or somewhat satisfied with their current role.
- Regionally anchored: Nearly three-quarters (74%) of professionally active participants work in Switzerland and 15% work in Europe.
- Continuing in the same field: Almost half (47%) of the professionally active participants claim to be working in the same field as the one in which they obtained their doctorate, and 39% say they are in a similar or broader field.
- The importance of transversal skills: 64% of the professionally active participants said that they are taking advantage of the transversal skills acquired during their doctorate.
Awareness and promotion (Statement of Intent 2.1.2)
The strong regional roots of the participants show the importance of the local economic fabric in the professional integration of doctorate holders. It reminds us also of the importance of developing initiatives to highlight these skills with employers in the region and facilitate the efforts of doctorate holders during their professional transition towards new employment sectors.
Career preparation (Statement of Intent 4.1.1)
The important mobilisation of transversal skills in the current role, including compared to theoretical and technical skills, show the importance of a doctoral training that takes into account and encourages the development of this type of skills.
Further development of the annual UNIL + 3 doctoral survey
This first annual survey allows us to identify different lines of analysis and action for the future editions of the survey. Furthermore, this survey collected new contacts of doctorate holders interested in participating in initiatives organised by the Graduate Campus (webinars and/or doctoral portraits presented on our website.
Finally, in the medium and longer term, the annual survey will provide material with which to develop initiatives to raise awareness and inform the various audiences concerned (early career researchers, supervisors and employers).
The executive summary is available below. To receive the full report, please contact the Graduate Campus.