Published on LinkedIn by Irena Lovrenčič Držanič Technical Associate (Institute of Media Communications - UM).
An increasing number of PhDs decides to work in the industry instead of academia. When applying to open positions, they are often asked about their previous experience in the industry. This is where international mobility in the industry comes in place. The choice to work in the industry has previously been seen as the second choice if no academic positions were open, but working in the industry has the benefits of its own. International mobility is also useful for those who want to apply to academic positions in other countries.
Participation in mobility gives PhDs many opportunities for future employment:
- Development of new skills. Mobility will improve your soft skills, especially communication skills and networking, both of which are favourable in the recruiting process. The guest institution will also gain insights into how the research is done at your institution. Additionally, you will learn how to adapt to new environments, both professionally and personally.
- Networking. Mobility forces PhDs into networking. You will meet new fellow researchers, other academic staff and employees in companies. Learn how to network efficiently.
- New work environment. During your mobility, you will encounter new workplaces with different professionals from the same and other fields. Different cultures also have different workplace cultures and customs, which might later help you if you decide to work in a company with employees from different cultures.
- Insights into different work methods. PhDs who studied and work at the same institution are only familiar with the methods they were thought there. Mobility broadens their expertise and familiarity with new methods, as well as develops their research skills with a new practice.
- Exposure to new perspectives. Being acquainted with good practices positively affects your expertise and performance at the home institution. Exposure to good practices is also the reason professors and other academic employees are encouraged to go on Erasmus staff mobility.
- Personal growth and new perspectives. Another consequence of international mobility is personal growth that occurs due to living in an unfamiliar culture and meeting of new people from that environment.
- Connection with the industry. Mobility in the industry means you gain some experience on how work is done in the industry, but also establish connections with potential employers. Being familiar with them might be your key advantage is highly competitive workplaces.
Obstacles to international mobility
International mobility also has some downsides that participants need to be aware of. The most common issues they face are a financial burden, separation from family and friends, lack of understanding and support provided by home and/or guest institution and insufficient foreign language skills.
All of these need to be taken into account when you decide to spend some time in the industry to avoid later dissatisfaction.