9 Alternative Careers for PhD Science Graduates
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According to a 2010 report from the Royal Society in London, only 0.45% of science Ph.D. graduates went on to become a professor. For science graduates, there are many other exciting, and financially rewarding career options available but not everyone knows what they are or where to look.
Many industry hiring managers now place an emphasis on finding candidates with PhDs, especially science-based, before considering other candidates because of their ability to innovate and problem solve.
Below is a summary of nine alternative career options which Ph.D science graduates might want to consider:
1. Product manager
Product managers are responsible for managing a tangible or intangible product’s entire life cycle. Your role would involve analyzing a product’s market performance and ascertaining ways to boost its commercial success.
This is a multifunctional role where you will have to collaborate with others across multiple divisions which will require a unique blend of business acumen and creativity.
2. Technical support scientist
Technical support scientists use in-depth technical-scientific knowledge to solve customer’s problems.
You’ll develop a high-level understanding of the product portfolio and the market in which your company operates. Whilst it may not seem as exciting as some alternative career options you’ll be exposed to various aspects of business, and build a well-rounded skill set that will put you in a great position to move into other roles in the future.
3. Competitive intelligence analyst (CI)
As a Competitive Intelligence Analyst, you’ll be tasked with gathering and analyzing data about your competitors and their impact in the market to build intelligence for decision making.
Your input will help to ascertain both market threats and opportunities and contribute to the company’s decision making. Competitive Intelligence Analysts are essential in supporting a company’s management team and can provide you with exposure at an executive level.
4. Business development manager (BDM)
Not all business development managers have a business degree, In-fact Science Ph.D. graduates are increasingly hired as business development managers (BDM) these days.
Your job as a BDM is to prioritize innovative products based on market demands and competitors and to increase market share of your company’s products/services. With a combination of scientific and analytical skills, you’ll be able to predict market trends and make reliable forecasts for future performance.
Tom White from Breeze Mobility, a medical mobility products company in Australia, recently employed a Ph.D science graduate in a business development role and reported that “when interviewing candidates we found that people with a strong science-based background were able to problem solve effectively and had the ability to use complex data to make decisions. These skills take a long time to develop and are extremely valuable in a role such as this”.
5. Product or technical marketing specialist
Product / technical marketing specialists are involved in a product’s early development, launch, and post-launch support and brand management. These roles require a mixture of hard and soft skills and will require you to use both scientific and business acumen.
6. Management consulting
The increase in technology-based businesses has lead to a rise in the demand for science Ph.D. holders. Highly developed problem-solving skills will allow you to design unique strategies to overcome these problems.
You will present your findings orally and in presentations, and in detailed written reports. The most significant benefit of this role is that it opens doors for various other opportunities, including entrepreneurship and venture capitalism.
7. Quantitative analyst
There is a high demand for science PhDs with backgrounds in fields like Mathematics and Statistics for quantitative analysts (QAs) in major financial institutions. Life Science PhDs are also hired into QA roles to increase financial trading in the biotech industry.
Your responsibilities involve predicting trades through financial research, statistical modeling, and pattern recognition. Many companies preference science PhDs because of their ability to work under pressure and with minimal supervision while conducting independent research.
8. Medical communication specialist
Medical communication specialists are technical writers involved in developing and producing communicative medical and healthcare-related materials. Your responsibilities include writing and editing materials healthcare organizations use to communicate with patients, clients, and medical professionals.
You’ll need excellent written communication skills and a strong understanding of your field’s ethical guidelines. The deliverables will depend on the organization you are working with however may include things such as patient education brochures, regulatory documents, and sales training materials.
9. Market research analyst
Most industries, especially within innovation-based sectors, employ market research analysts. These roles involve using data and your technical expertise to understand the commercial landscape as it relates to a specific industry. The reports you produce based on your analysis will be used by a companies executive team to plan the best way forward, avoid pitfalls, take advantage of trends, and maximize revenues.
With so many alternative career options available to science Ph.D. holders, it’s time you looked for a job that is both lucrative and something you will enjoy.