Contextualizing industry job requirements for PhDs: a mixed method investigation

Investigate how different industries interpret and deploy skills for employment.

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The number of PhD graduates produced each year continues to exceed the accommodating capacity of the academic job market. This is a global problem for PhD graduates seeking work as academics, but particularly acute in Australia. As a result, there have been calls from scholars and educators to transform the PhD in ways that will help graduates be more employable in industries outside of conventional academic settings. However, most initiatives to transform PhD education have tended to treat the mission merely as a matter of providing more decontextualized skill training, despite the recognition that understanding cultures and identity formation are indispensable for an appropriate operationalization of skills. Through the critical examination of 1,800 high-research-skills- intensive job ads, situated in two industry domains (healthcare & computing), this thesis works to investigate how different industries interpret the same skill set differently. It finds that different industries interpret and value the same skills and want them deployed in different ways.


Principal investigator

PhD Researcher


Will Grant

Associate Professor
Associate Director, Higher Degree Research & Engagement