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Catherine Reynolds

April 23rd, 2020

Academic job search in uncertain times: widening your search, broadening the net and going global

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Catherine Reynolds

April 23rd, 2020

Academic job search in uncertain times: widening your search, broadening the net and going global

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

People have different approaches to weathering a storm in terms of career development. Recently, LSE PhD students and junior academics have been wondering how to position themselves for academic jobs while waiting for the labour market to pick up. There are jobs to apply for, and here’s where to look.

First, the good news. There are still many UK academic job vacancies advertised on university sites. Check out LSE Jobs and jobs.ac.uk to see what’s available now. These include roles with a variety of job titles: as well as Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Junior Lecturer, Fellow etc, you could also consider Research Officer, Research Associate, Research Fellow, Teaching Fellow, Senior Teaching Fellow and Graduate Teaching Assistant. Using the salary band search function can help you narrow the field. Fixed Term positions have been common as stepping stones in academia for many years now. You can hear how others have navigated these routes by exploring other LSE PhD Career blogs.

To broaden the net, you could also include professional service roles or alternative academic roles, for example in teaching and learning, widening participation and student support. If you are a digital learning expert, confident with educational technology and familiar with adapting to online learning, you could support university departments in the rapid transition to virtual teaching. These positions could be considered temporary sidesteps, still keeping you in the academic milieu, maintaining an ‘ac.uk’ email address and access to the resources of Higher Education, while earning a living a weathering the storm. This is not only in response to COVID-19; for years books have been published on the limits of academia to recruit our own PhD students. A legitimate displacement activity might be to a look at a recent publication (February 2020) which covers similar themes: Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers by Kathryn E. LinderKevin Kelly and Thomas J. Tobin.  

Then more good news, the international academic job market is still buoyant, with opportunities within the academic sector available in many countries.

If this is an approach you want to take, the resources below might be of use.

For example, vacancies are listed on:

Social science job market information categorised by country can be found on the Academic Observatory pages of the EUI website and this is a good source of background information.

On the LSE Careers website you’ll find information on: Academic careers in Germany; France and the USA.

This approach may not be right for all, however if it is, we’re here to support you in your search further afield for academic work.

Over the coming weeks you might also want to think about career building activities that can be undertaken in the current circumstances. Our dedicated PhD and Research Staff Careers Consultant, Catherine Reyonlds (c.reynolds1@lse.ac.uk) is here to talk through your concerns and help you to manage your career. You can book a PhD careers appointment on CareerHub and also use CareerHub to search for online careers events taking place during the summer.

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Catherine Reynolds

Posted In: COVID-19 | PhD

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