Report on doctoral research in the humanities (this is for the UK, compiled by the Arts & Humanities Research Council).
Some interesting statistics. (And they think there should be more money for postdoctoral funding, with which I’d heartily concur. The AHRC, as far as I can recall, currently has no postdoc fellowship schemes of any kind. OK, the British Academy is sort of the substitute for that, but it still doesn’t seem quite right.)
Plus a section on the purpose and use of a PhD in humanities subjects (which is less specific to the UK situation than some parts of the report). Nearly/recently completed PhDs looking for jobs take note of the right things to say in interviews, if you apply for jobs outside academia.
13. There is broad agreement in the sector that the key qualities of the completed arts/humanities doctoral researcher should be a capacity for original and autonomous thinking, an ability to command a field of knowledge, research skills (the ability to frame and explore research questions, the ability to frame and test a hypothesis and to manage a project), an understanding of the appropriate research methods, the ability to produce a cogent argument and conversely to engage in critical thinking, and an ability to communicate at a high level.
14. During the last three decades the doctorate has emerged as a crucial entrance qualification to the Academy to a degree which was not true a generation ago. A key purpose of doctoral research is and must be to develop the next generation of researchers and teachers in higher education. However, this has never been its sole purpose. There have always been researchers who elected to use their research skills in a wide range of public and private sector roles. And there has always been a significant demand for places from individuals primarily interested in the intellectual challenge of doctoral research. […]
15. The view of the disciplines nationally, reflected both in the consultative seminars and in the online survey, indicates a wide acceptance across the arts and humanities disciplines of the principle that doctoral study has not one but two aims: the production of high-quality research and the training of a highly qualified researcher. Colleagues nationally are equally firm in the view that a doctorate in the arts and humanities is a valuable preparation not only for a career in the Academy but also for a wide range of research-related and management jobs in the public and private sectors. Researchers from the subject domain enter a broad range of professions outside the academy, including public administration, corporate management, library and museum work, publishing and marketing. …
The report also comments that “transferable skills developed by doctoral research must be made explicit both to researchers and to potential employers. At present it seems that both researchers and disciplines undersell themselves.” Well, it seems to me that that’s often because departments and supervisors themselves are pretty clueless about it.