New Article about Career Competencies among Early-Career Academics

February 1, 2023

Together with Isabelle Skakni, Christian Maggiori, and Jonas Masdonati, I published a new article in Higher Education Research and Development about career competencies among junior academics. In this study, we administered the Career Competencies Questionnaire I developed about 10 years ago to over 700 early-career academics from 16 different countries. We found that career competencies may differ for those who pursue a career path within or outside of academia. Furthermore, we found that career competencies related positively to perceptions of employability and meaningfulness.

You can read the paper HERE. It is freely available to anyone.


This study examines the extent to which career competencies (knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to manage one’s own work and learning experiences to achieve the desired career progression) are prevalent amongst early career researchers (ECRs). We adapted the Career Competencies Questionnaire [Akkermans, J., Brenninkmeijer, V., Huibers, H., & Blonk, R. W. (2013). Competencies for the contemporary career: Development and preliminary validation of the career competencies questionnaire. Journal of Career Development, 40(3), 245–267] to ECRs’ training and career specificities, considering the two career tracks facing them: within and outside academia. This questionnaire was sent to PhD students and junior PhD holders in 16 countries (n = 727). Our results show that career competencies for within and outside academia are clearly contrasted. Furthermore, compared with their female counterparts, male participants generally reported stronger career competencies in preparation for careers both within and outside academia, while PhD students perceived having more career competencies in preparation for careers outside academia than PhD holders did. We also found a positive link between ECRs’ career competencies and their perceived employability, and those who perceived themselves as having strong career competencies were more likely to consider their current work meaningful. While most PhD holders pursue careers beyond academia, the concept of career competencies offers an innovative theoretical contribution to the field of ECRs’ development, by highlighting how this population perceives their preparedness for diverse professional paths.

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