The career survey is back and a doctoral student is looking for career examples

The career survey will launch again in autumn 2017. Isto Peltomäki, doctoral student of theology, is hoping for many replies to the survey so that he will be able to glean real-life career examples to build a study path.

It will soon be time for the national career survey. The career monitoring which has been ongoing for approximately ten years has yielded a great deal of positive results to help develop education, but it can also have concrete benefits for students planning their study paths. One of them is Isto Peltomäki, doctoral student in theology, who is currently working on his dissertation on pastoral counselling in the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church.

 “I decided to apply for doctoral studies at my supervisor’s encouragement at the Master’s thesis stage. Retrospectively, the decision to embark on this project was a radical one,” says Peltomäki of his path to beginning doctoral studies in 2014.

Good examples point the way for a degree

According to Peltomäki, who is currently working full-time on his doctoral dissertation, hearing about the career options of doctoral graduates can have a major impact on the studies of doctoral students, even if they are years away from graduating and entering employment.

 “Good examples are useful when theologians start thinking about how to find employment with their degree. It’s also important for students to hear how they can use the skills and knowledge they have gained through their doctoral degree in work.”

Peltomäki hopes to find employment in the field of his degree after his graduation, which could mean expert duties, for example.

 “I have no definite career plan, I’m keeping my options open. One of them could be to continue research work or seek employment in the church sector, for example.”

Theologians stand out on the job market

Theology is a vast academic field and produces many different types of expert competence. The job market is highly competitive, and standing out is an asset. Peltomäki believes that theologians have an edge in this sense.

 “One topical issue is rapidly increasing multiculturalism, which theologians are well positioned to understand and analyse, and not just from a religious perspective.”

Another speciality theologians have according to Peltomäki is an empathetic attitude, which is significant on the job market.

 “Not to make any undue generalisations, but I believe theologians tend to have a more empathetic and compassionate attitude than average. Studies indicate that empathy is a significant resource in a professional community.”

Career issues to be integrated more into the doctoral degree

One of the main uses and goals of the career surveys has been to develop education. The rapidly changing world of work requires constant development. Peltomäki mentions individual doctoral courses which highlighted concrete career issues. He sees the closer integration of career issues into the doctoral degree as a positive.

 “In the future, career orientation could be included in doctoral education, as it already is in Bachelor’s and Master’s education. Why not include a voluntary or elective traineeship? This would be particularly useful if the traineeship placement is in a field where the student will be able to use the competence they have gained through their studies. This is the area where we need examples: what are the actual career options for doctoral graduates.”

Ca­reer mon­it­or­ing of uni­versit­ies

Universities use career monitoring surveys to gather information about how graduates find employment and what kinds of skills employers are looking for.

The survey is conducted by the Aarresaari career services network of Finnish universities.

The current career monitoring survey covers graduates who completed a second-cycle degree or a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy or kindergarten teaching in 2012 as well as doctoral graduates of 2014.

The survey results are used in study guidance, the development of education and teaching as well as in research on the career development of university graduates.

The answers will be processed confidentially and the results reported in a way that individual respondents cannot be identified. The career monitoring data is stored anonymised in an electronic format in the Finnish Social Sciences Data Archive.

Read the results of previous career monitoring surveys