Graduates from PhD programmes in Slovakia do not have problems finding placement in the job market. Knowledge and soft-skills increase their value at home as well as abroad. Experts view PhD study as an opportunity for personal and professional development. Most graduates are highly sought after by companies, mainly in technological fields.
“In general, PhD graduates do not have problems finding placement on the job market,” said spokesperson of the Education Ministry Eva Koprena.
Apart from working in their field of study, PhD graduates are employed in the private sector, valued mainly for their soft-skills.
“Naturally, a PhD graduate increases his or her professional capability and value on the job market,” said Silvia Kotulovičová, scholarship administrator at the Slovak Academic Information Agency (SAIA).
The skills and expertise they gain during their PhD studies help them to obtain higher positions.
“Often, they get to managerial positions, where they do well with the help of technical skills and good practical training during their studies,” added Daniela Chudá, the sub-dean for doctoral studies and student mobility at the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies (FIIT) at the Slovak University of Technology (STU) in Bratislava.
“PhD students join research projects with an opportunity to further develop, publish and participate in conferences,” said Koprena.
However, the character of doctoral studies varies from country to country, ranging from individual research and close cooperation with their supervisor, to international cooperation. Kotulovičová also stresses the personal growth that is part of the study.
“We focus on international cooperation, also in terms of improving the employability of the graduates,” said Kotulovičová.
The main differences are in culture and communication, said Kotulovičová. Experience from abroad helps students to make important contacts and relationships; it broadens the viewpoint of graduates and improves their communication and cultural adaptation skills.
Scholarship programmes of SAIA are aimed mainly at students’ mobility, including PhD students. Researchers can spend part of their studies at a university or research institution abroad.
“Our flagship programme, the National Scholarship Programme, enables PhD candidates with permanent residence in Slovakia to study and research in any country,” Kotulovičová explained.
The programme also covers graduates from other countries who want to study in Slovakia. A similar CEEPUS programme supports student mobility in Balkans.
Another way to study and develop abroad is the EURAXESS initiative of the European Commission, or academic mobilities, bilateral agreements between particular governments, funded from the public resources.
SAIA also offers internship programmes in cooperation with universities and research institutions. Thanks to the programme, STU can support over 100 young scientists every year.
As mentioned by Kotulovičová, PhD studies develop the personality of a graduate.