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Top 7 Career Opportunities in India after PhD in 2023

A PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic qualification offered to an individual following a course of study. The term PhD originates from the Latin term ‘Philosophiae Doctor’ and represents competition of individual research in a field of interest. The doctoral research degree paves the path for a wide range of opportunities. It is a 3 to 8 years course that helps you become competent at presenting your thesis based on independent research of a topic.

There is a breadth of skills students acquire while pursuing a PhD. It elevates your ability to critically analyse a subject, display intellectual maturity, gain in-depth knowledge of a specific field and publish a valid thesis. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best job opportunities after PhD that are available to students in different industries—academia, government sector, entrepreneurship, consultancy, and so on. If you are looking for PhD admission for 2022, please read further. 

Top Job Opportunities after PhD

1. Academics

a. Faculty Position

One of the most commonly opted choices after a PhD is teaching, primarily due to the uncanny similarity between academia and what an individual must do to acquire the degree. The degree practice and teaching involve teaching, researching, and nurturing your acquired knowledge.

If you are interested in landing a faculty position or taking up the teaching path, plenty of institutions are keen on having a PhD holder in their faculty, especially in developing countries.

The PhD holders have a niche of their own in the domain or topic they have spent time researching about. They have made a good number of contributions to the field of study, so they have a firm hold on the subject.

So the PhD holders as faculty seem to be a natural fit, as they can impart the knowledge mentioned in the curriculum and much beyond that. They can open their students’ minds to concepts they would not usually be exposed to and thus help them develop a frame of mind that is inquisitive and has a strong foundation.

Some of the skills that the faculty must possess to impart the education smoothly are an excellent hold of the subject, communication skills, analytical skills, people management, understanding of human behavior, assessment skills, empathy, etc.

The profession of teaching is considered one of the best, high paying and most successful one. The compensation varies according to the subject, institution, experience, etc. On average, after PhD salary in India of a faculty is  12.0 lakhs per annum. The average salary bracket ranges from 1.3 lakhs per annum to 30.0 lakhs per annum (Source).

b. Post Doctorate

You can also choose to stay in the same university for varying periods (from one to four years) and get an extended project based on the one you did earlier. You might also work on publishing your erstwhile researched product.

The significance of a post-doctorate is many. They take on individual or group research projects that are impactful. Their research and findings help society, government education, industries, etc.

A post-doc has the autonomy of their day. Some of the skills that are required from a post-doc are the nature of being inquisitive, research skills, documentation, verbal and written communication, a good hold of the subject matter, people skills, team management, etc.

The salary for a post-doc may vary depending on factors such as the institution, domain, research topic, experience, etc. On average, a postdoctoral researcher procures the compensation of 10.0 lakhs per annum. The salary ranges from 3.0 lakhs per annum to 40.0 lakhs per annum (Source). People have apprehension about “What comes after PhD?” Post-doctorate can be considered an option.

c. Adjunct Position

An adjunct position is a non-tenure position in universities; they are professionals who don’t carry the title of a professor but make valuable contributions to the faculty. In some universities, professionals in Adjunct positions work overtime and bear numerous educational responsibilities.

d. Teaching

PhD holders can teach at institutions offering undergraduate courses where they are looking for staff with a PhD who can carry out practical research.

PhD candidates can be assistant professors by teaching undergraduate courses or being a part of committees that help form academic and organisational policies and perform research to achieve tenure.

There exists a myth that PhD courses are designed to PAVE the path for individuals to become professors at the university level. However, the horizons of a PhD degree spread farther than simply academia, so it’s wrong to assume so. 

Here’s looking at the different verticals where PhD holders can chart a rewarding career. 

2. Government Jobs

The government job sector is ideal for patriotic and passionate people who want to serve the country. Since the government is always on the lookout for creative and skilled people, professionals who love researching and put their skills to good use can rely on the government sector. 

PhD holders carry a unique, innovative perspective that allows them to view complex problems, understand them and make practical, diplomatic choices.

There are several opportunities here, starting from the military sector (e.g. military research). If you are interested in politics, you can opt for a policymaker position in state and central government. You can also be a minister if you can work your way up with innovative diplomatic ideas.

First, the PhD holders are eligible to sit in the government exam. They are highly qualified professionals who give a learned and deeper perspective to the government professionals that helps in better decision-making. They can work in various departments of the government, such as policy making, rural development, transportation, scientific research, military, international relations, etc. One can procure various PhD jobs in India in the government sector.

3. Entrepreneur

In today’s world, the entrepreneurship sector is growing exponentially. Since information and technology are accessible to everyone, there’s a growing shift towards startups, self-employment, and innovation. PhDs holders carry the potential to be first-grade innovators/entrepreneurs.

Research shows that PhDs and entrepreneurial journeys are way more similar than they seem, and hence, students who have PhD degrees are very likely to thrive when they get into entrepreneurship.

Apart from various similarities between the entrepreneurs and PhDs, there is one common similarity between these two, and that is innovation and research skills. Both of these professionals identify a problem persisting in society and develop a model that solves it. So naturally, the PhD holders seem as a fit progression to entrepreneurship.

Some of the skills required for a successful entrepreneur are identifying problems, critical thinking, problem-solving, business management, creativity,  team management, self-starter attitude, communication skills, networking, etc.

4. Consultancy

The skillset required to be a consultant includes maintaining large amounts of data. Plenty of companies rely on MBA professionals and PhD holders for consultancy due to the increasing influence of technology in the real world.

Large consultancy firms hire PhD holders from all different fields. The idea is to leverage valuable data and glean helpful insights to empower business decision-making. 

PhD and other advanced degrees help students shine in consultancy since there is a massive requirement for specialised expertise in today’s age. Therefore, if you have a PhD, consultancy is a very prominent job opportunity that can be highly rewarding.

There are various reasons for being a consultant professional as a PhD holder, as they have a high capacity for critical thinking. They are skillful for effectively and scientifically solving problems. The PhD holders can effectively analyse the data and come to conclusions. The companies hire the PhD holders for the level of expertise they bring. Usually, they are hired at the same level as MBA professionals. This may vary depending on the companies, level of skill sets, location, and other factors.

5. Digital Media Company

The job description is to prepare reports providing a comprehensive analysis and context on various topics. It also includes preparing reports on artistic and cultural events. A PhD course equips you to be an individual with excellent writing and research skills. These are extremely handy when pursuing a writing job opportunity at media company.

Unlike a regular digital marketing professional a PhD holder would come up with a much deeper perspective and understanding. They would be having the in depth knowledge of the funcitonings. 

There is an option available to do PhD in digital marketing, these professionals would come up with understanding on the culture, society, ethnicities, human behaviour and many more. There are various options available for phd jobs as  there are various firms and companies that employe the professionals.

6. Research Associate

As the word suggests, a research associate job position requires you to gather data to determine whether consumers or companies find a product or service desirable or appealing.

For this job position, the skills you acquire during your PhD study (presentation and research skills) prove to be highly influential; these are the skills that help you excel in research.

Switching from academic research to corporate research, where the information acquired via research is used well, is a choice most professionals make these days since academic research can get monotonous and underwhelming at times.

The research associates are responsible for various tasks such as gathering of data, preparing data, analysing, reporting, research and may more. They identify the problem and then go about their workf to find solutions for the problem.

It is considered as one of the most sought- after jobs one can go for. There are various industries and fields one can go ahead to make a career fro themselves. These researches make a positive contribution to the society in various fields such as history, science, art and culture, society, policy making, etc.

Usually there is no degree after PhD is required to become a research associate a PhD suffices. Moreover, the profession as a research associate is high paying and is a stable career. 

7. Product Manager

The job profile of a product manager includes overseeing every aspect of the development, growth, maintenance, and improvement of a product.

Companies prefer PhD holders over other UG PG holders for positions that require overseeing or handling end-to-end tasks since a PhD equips you to handle multitasking effortlessly.

The role of a product manager doesn’t stop after product formulation and release. It extends to maintenance, improving product performance, devising marketing strategies, and enhancing product efficiency by bringing in new methods that can replace older ways. Online PhD programs offer you offer flexibility to manage your work and other commitments.

 A product manager is required to be aware of the customer’s needs and manage to address the gap by innovating the product. They are responsible for making the product better that helps in taking the business forward. 

In order to all of that, they are required to be equipped with certain skill sets that understands th ehuman behavioru, mindsets of people coming from different geographies and age groups. And according to various factors, inculcate the innovations in such a way that the product feels relatable to the target audience. But most importantly, they should also be having the business acumen that helps them in aking decisions that benefits the business.

The profession as a product manager is considered as high paying and on average the salary goes up to 16.3 lakhs per annum. The average salary ranges from 6.0 lakhs per annum to 35.0 lakhs per annum (Source). This salary bracket may differ due to various factors such as geographical location, skill sets, experience, type of company, etc.

As a working professional, if you are looking at adding Doctor title to your name, we would recommend DBA over PhD. A DBA program allows you to do the same and has a flexible industry-oriented approach rather than an academic approach taken by PhD. However, DBA won’t help you to earn a professor title at a UGC-approved institution since that will require a PhD.

.Check out upGrad’s Global Doctor of Business Administration from the ACBSP-accredited Swiss School of Business and Management. The 36-months program caters to 75+ nationalities and provides 12+ specialisations and 70+ faculty industry collaborations to help you succeed. There are 1:1 thesis supervisions to ensure you exploit your potential in your domain of choice. 

The minimum requirement to pursue this degree is a Master’s Degree (or equivalent) or 5+ years of work experience. 

Don’t wait, sign up and book your seat today!

Do PhD holders require communication skills to be successful?

Communication skills can effectively drive career potential since PhD holders are expected to deliver out-of-the-box thinking, management, and creative ways of solving problems via critical thinking. Developing communication skills is crucial in showcasing and presenting your ideas to technical and non-tech teams convincingly.

Should you opt for a master's or PhD?

PhD holders have the upper hand over Master’s or Bachelors's students across industries due to their high-end skill sets that include critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective decision making. In addition, their unmatched research skills and data management abilities make them an obvious choice for a host of high-profile roles across industries.

Is a PhD worth it from a financial point of view?

The average salary of PhD holders ranges between ₹ 6,00,000 and ₹ 12,00,000 per year, depending on the field of choice, experience, and skillsets. The average base salary for a PhD holder working as a professor is ₹16,73,000 per year, approximately ₹90k per month).

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