Post-PhD: prepare well in advance.

An important decision to be made by the PhD student after completion of the thesis is which profession and sector they wish to work in.

This decision must be made by the PhD student him or herself, after envisaging various options and engaging in personal reflection to gain self-awareness and plan for the future. Université Paris-Saclay is rolling out various actions and educational programmes to assist the PhD student in developing their career. Three years after their thesis presentation, the reported satisfaction of doctorate graduates directly correlates with the degree of preparation of their professional future carried out prior to their thesis presentation ( 2014 Career Survey).

Today a surprising number of opportunities are available to PhD graduates

The doctorate is an asset for many professions, in public and private sectors alike. Research programmes enable students to develop transferrable skills which are highly useful and appreciated, even beyond research professions.

A word of caution for PhD students: It is natural that, having joined a research unit, a career in research may seem to be one of the only future career paths available for a PhD graduate. This is a common assumption which is, after all, a sign of sound integration within a research team, but it remains nevertheless one option among many. Do not lose sight of the fact that it is your professional future at stake! Take the time to think about what motivates you and assess all professional options available to you. Take the opportunities presented to you to meet professionals from the sectors open to you.

Consult job offers and meet professionals from various fields in forum

A few of the professions and sectors for which a doctorate is a real asset:

  • Consultancy, studies and expertise in agencies and companies providing intellectual services, future-oriented and strategic expertise for companies, international organisations and government authorities
  • Support and supervisory research, innovation, promotion and developing Spin Offs
  • Entrepreneurship in innovative business sectors
  • Management of innovative projects, piloting research and innovation, leading innovative or transforming structures and change management
  • Researcher or lecturer-researcher in academia
  • In-house researcher, private sector R&D
  • Scientific mediation, scientific communication for innovative companies, scientific journalism or publishing, and public and international relations for innovative companies

Bernard Gregory Association

ABG-Intelli’agence – Created in 1980, this association combines higher education institutions, companies, etc., with the aim of facilitating professional mobility for PhD graduates in supporting companies that are recruiting them. ABG comprises 17,000 registered recruiters and 24,000 registered PhD students, with an average of 4,400 visitors to the website each day.


DocPro offers PhD graduates, companies, doctoral schools and laboratories a vision of the skills developed by PhD graduates over the various stages of their career. DocPro is the fruit of collaboration between actors in the worlds of academia and business. It was created by The Bernard Gregory Association (ABG-Intelli’agence), the Conference of University Presidents (CPU) and MEDEF.

This collaboration was motivated by a shared conviction that innovation is an important aspect of growth and competition for companies, to which PhD holders can provide significant contributions.

Becoming a PhD graduate

Some surveys on the future career prospects of PhD graduates

Horizon 2020 SME Innovation Associate

Funding PhD recruitment in SMEs​

Innovation in SMEs is often hampered by a lack of access to specialised skills and knowledge. At the same time, many companies find it difficult to manage innovation processes effectively and struggle to recruit specialised knowledge as they don't tend to have extensive international Networks or the well-known brand names of large enterprises. This is where the SME Associate programme comes in. By developing such enterprise-led mobility programme, the EU aims to increase access to talent for SMEs and start-ups by encouraging mobility. Because of this experimental nature it applies a fixed period for the recruitment of the researcher aligned to Academic year in most European countries.