Employability outside academia

PCDI's course to enhance your employability in non-academic careers

The aim of the Employability Outside Academia course is to support PhD students and postdocs in their preparation to make the transition to industry and/or non-profit organisations. It helps them finding out what position would suit them.

In three full days, you will find answers to questions like: Is it realistic for me to stay in academia or shout I seek for a job elsewere? What do I (really) want? What job opportunities are there for PhD students and postdocs outside academia? What is necessary to make the transition to a position outside academia? Am I maybe too old to make the transition? How can I increase my attractiveness to non-academic employers? What steps do I need to take? How do I present myself towards organizations outside academia? How do I deal with the insecurities I have?, etc.


With help of the trainer and your fellow participants you will receive tailor made answers to the career questions you have. As a bonus, you will definitely gain a lot more self-insight!


Why an employability course for Early Career Researchers?


The vast majority of people with a PhD can not stay in academia, given the limited number of positions.

Second, early career researchers are not educated for a career outside academia an are not aware of career opportunities outside the academic world.

In addition, discrepancies exist between the skill sets academic researchers present and what non-academic employers are looking for. As a centre of expertise for postdoc development, PCDI was commissioned by the Amsterdam Economic Board to investigate this mismatch. No less than ten different companies and two umbrella associations [brancheverenigingen] were involved: What do they expect from PhDs and what discrepancies they see in competences. 

Based on this survey PCDI developed a preparative course for postdocs and PhDs. The course is open to all Early Career Researchers who aim to make the transition out of academia.


'I was really stressed about my future […] this course made me relax
seeing there are a lot of opportunities for jobs where I didn’t expect them.'

Increase your employability!

By the end of the course you will:

  • have an idea about what you want with your career
  • have made a survey of competences acquired in the academic track, including transferable skills
  • have identified your personal strengths, weaknesses and skill gaps
  • have a clear view of the professional demands in non academic organisations and know how these differ from academia
  • be able to state the added value of your PhD and/or postdoc experience to employers
  • have an idea how your career might look like if you decide to leave academia
  • have a personal development plan to guide your long-term career development

A certificate of participation will be provided. At some institutes this can be used to collect credits for your PhD


Time investment

Employability outside Academia  is a three day course. The format of the course has been chosen to help you reflect maximally on your career development without being distracted by your daily life and it's challenges. You will recieve homework tasks  before each course day. Study load: 24 contact hours and 6 hours homework 


Target group

Early career researchers: postdocs and third/ final year PhD students; academic researchers on a fixed term contract who are at crossroads of their career.


 'Employability outside academia is very useful and helped me a lot. I would advise people to follow this course as my perspective on the future and what I want has definitely changed'

'The course [...] helped me to identify the types of jobs that would suit me and also to develop a personal action plan to allow me to pursue the jobs I identified.'

Find more testimonials from participants here



Employability outside academia course
in English


This course consists of 3 x 1 full-day sessions
from 9.30h - 17.00h

Day 1 -  29 April 2019                       
Day 2 -  20 May 2019                   
Day 3 -  17 June 2019  (all Mondays)

(Spare date: 1 July 2019)

Attendance of all 3 days is strongly recommended


central Utrecht

For who?

Final phase PhD students and postdocs


895 euro - see fee and funding page
Discounted fees for group pre-booking
by research organisations available


Online registration is now open until one week prior to the start of the course or until maximum capacity of 18 participants is reached. Register here