As a postdoc you are a highly skilled individual but what do postdocs do if they don’t become academics, what are other career options and how do you get that next job? 

If you choose not to pursue an academic career. The most common career destination for postdocs is other professional roles within higher education. Such roles include research policy and administration, knowledge transfer and commercialisation, public engagement and science communication, training and careers advice. Deciding not to be an academic might not mean leaving the university at all.

Postdocs move on to all sorts of roles within and outside the higher education sector. Outside of higher education you can have roles as a Research Scientist in an industry, Data Analyst, work within a funding body as Grant Manager, become a Consultant, a Medical/Scientific Writer or a Project Manager in any sector!

The Pathways for Postdocs project aims at helping you understand and highlight your transferable skills, learning how to evidence these outside of the academic career path to make you competitive in your next move.

The project and the resources on this webpage are intended to help you understand your options and take steps towards a potential career change.

Pathways for Postdocs Pop Ups

The PFDC run a series of pathways focused Pop Ups to share with and inform postdocs of some of careers pathways available to you – please check for upcoming pop up sessions.

upcoming sessions

Skills development:

  • Non-academic CVs
  • Cover Letters
  • Career Goals
  • Job Searching – how to make a start (non-academic focused)

Guest speakers:

  • Teaching Fellows Network
  • Deep Science Ventures
  • Being an Editor

other options

Shadowing - Outside Insight

Outside Insight is a London Inter-institution work shadowing scheme that gives you the opportunity to engage with practical career and professional development in a way that allows you to have a wider appreciation, share and bring back knowledge, of work practices from other institutions. The scheme entails spending time with and observing the work of a member of staff in a department or role of interest in another institution in order to gain insight into work in that area.   The duration of the visit can vary between half a day and two days. There are currently 12 universities participating in the scheme.

For more information including how to apply for the scheme please click here or contact Jenna on

Department Events

Departments across Imperial host excellent careers sessions/days focusing on career paths.

Having links with colleagues who have moved outside of academia these department events can showcase some of the exciting options available to postdocs.

The PFDC Reps and PFDC Champions are often the coordinators of these sessions – please contact them for further information or to make a suggestion within your department.

The PFDC also provides tailored sessions specifically for postdoc and departmental needs – please contact PFDC Support with your request.