Chances of getting employed at the age of 36 with a PhD degree?

34 posts in this topic

I'm doing my doctoral degree at the moment and will be finished in a year when i become 35! 

Then i'd have three options :

1- Trying to stay in academy as doing post-doc and so on..

2- Doing a post-doc for 6 month or a year and going to the industry side.

3- Going to the industry right after i finish my PhD.

 

Generally i prefer doing 2 or 3, but i'm not sure about my chances in the industry regarding my age, or would the age really matter when you have a PhD and looking for positions related to people with PhD degree?

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17 minutes ago, vronchen said:

Answers may differ by field.

Exactly, it matters if you spent three years of your life doing research on the mating behavior of the praying mantis vs. doing research on the lithium battery longevity for a smart car.

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Try to get a "real" job as fast as possible.

You are 34 now. You started studying at the age of 18. That means you spent almost 50% (16 years) of you life at a university.

Why did you studies take that long? Were you afraid of doing "real" work? (questions people from HR will ask you)

 

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17 minutes ago, AnswerToLife42 said:

Try to get a "real" job as fast as possible.

You are 34 now. You started studying at the age of 18. That means you spent almost 50% (16 years) of you life at a university.

Why did you studies take that long? Were you afraid of doing "real" work? (questions people from HR will ask you)

 

no. Actually i was working in the industrial sector in my home country (non-EU) around 5 years before starting my PhD here in Germany. But i'm not sure it they consider it or not, and i think i'd be assumed a starter in the German job market. 

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It highly depends on the companies you will be applying for. For example in my company (quantitative area in finance), it is not that uncommon to have new joiners (some even without industrial experience, myself included) to join at the age of 35+. 

 

I believe most importantly you will need to explain how the skills you acquire during PhD are relevant to the position you apply. 

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45 minutes ago, stephan_fam said:

no. Actually i was working in the industrial sector in my home country (non-EU) around 5 years before starting my PhD here in Germany. But i'm not sure it they consider it or not, and i think i'd be assumed a starter in the German job market. 

 

I wouldnt worry, partly because  germans have a tradition of never finishing university.  I know 2 germans who were well into their 20 somethingth semester before graduating.

 

Clearly its better to be 10 years younger but I dont see in your field that it would be  adealbreaker especially as you have some experience.

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 A brilliant colleague of mine joined our company as a senior AI scientist at the age of 48.  He finished his PhD when he was 38. So he might have been in your situation when he got his phd. 

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Companies are interested in candidates with a university degree and lots of experience in their chosen field. Make sure your references and course certificates are up to date.

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I've hired a couple of PHDs in Physics, curiously for SW development. And interviewed a lot of them. And work with some 30 of them.

We seem them with some suspicion, as academic careers have no pressure and the mindset is very different. For example, they are very happy with proof of concept, while what we want is something that actually works reliably.

 

So what we try to see on the interview is if he can handle pressure, if he can see beyond proof of concept and if he is looking for work, not for a job.

And even so, we direct them to tasks more suitable for their mindset, that is, until we can changed them in a couple of years.

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On 21/07/2017, 16:45:26, stephan_fam said:

Well, if it helps, my field is informatik technologie. 

 

My experience shows that in IT that work experience counts more than qualifications.

 

I know people in IT who have PHDs and basically do admin roles, and I know people who have no university degree and have great jobs.

Also, in my area it seems that most people did not formally study computer science at all, and have their degrees in a range of different subjects but in the end that does not make any difference.  

 

Certainly any job interviews that I have been involved in (on both sides), looks at the experience the person has in the industry and the specific IT skills they have.  And once you get in the door then it is your attitude and job skill that counts more.

 

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My company likes to hire PhD's and don't seem to care about age (they hired me after all).  PM me if you want more info. 

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On 22.7.2017, 09:10:39, MikeMelga said:

academic careers have no pressure.

 

I  have worked years in academia, then it was too hard and I worked years in industry, then it was too easy and I moved back to academia.

I found pressure in academia immense, whereas in industry it was relaxed. Just my experience.

 

I know of academics working weeks of 100hr, continuous shifts of 27hr, reaching retirement age without ever getting a permanent contract despite dozens of publications as 1st author and invitations to international conferences, "forced" to move country a few times during their career.

 

Good luck to the OP. I have been there, I know the feeling and you have all my sympathy.

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Not to be too pessimistic, but ageism in IT is pretty rampant... I will not name the company (suffice it to say it sits up there with Google, Amazon, Apple) fired hundreds of employees this fiscal year in Germany to address the average age of its staff, which is currently 44 years old. They want to get it down to 36.

I am 32 years old and in my last 2 teams I was the oldest woman on the team. 

I'd say get on the job market and get experience under your belt to reach a management position quickly. That would offer some sort of protection. 

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@vmelchers: fired or let go with a golden handshake? I can remember that a few years ago SAP offered a program for it's employees to leave the company with an "Abfindung" or golden handshake. They estimated that some 4,000 employees would take this opportunity, but eventually more than 6,000 employees applied and it cost them tens of millions.

 

In 2004/2005 Siemens Business Services (SBS) did the same, but they also targeted middle management who tend to stay until retirement comes. Not exactly what you want as an IT company. You need a certain dynamic where young people move up into middle management, but that's difficult if the existing management doesn't move an inch. Consultants are different: they are flexible and mobile and move to other divisions or competitors. Sometimes they switch to the customer side.

 

What is also very popular in Germany to get rid of older employees is the so-called Altersteilzeit or partial retirement. Most of them sign for it happily at age 59-60. I don't know many people who want to be working in IT after 60.

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1 hour ago, vmelchers said:

I will not name the company (suffice it to say it sits up there with Google, Amazon, Apple) fired hundreds of employees this fiscal year in Germany...

That fits to my employer as well.

 

Quote

to address the average age of its staff, which is currently 44 years old. They want to get it down to 36.

But then not - at least not heard that reason.  In our case well-experienced service folks are being thrown out & replaced by zero-hour folks in Romania.

These may speak reasonable English & possibly German (but not French) and omitting the vast experience they have difficulties solving customer problems.

On top of that once they learn that the company "doesn't do pay rises" they move to the next big company just up the road...

 

45 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

I don't know many people who want to be working in IT after 60.

Introducing myself (aged 65 + 1 month).  "Individual Contributor" (not management). 

Retirement will come in the first half of 2018.  I'm glad I don't have 10 or 5 years still to go.

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@HEM Individual Contributor, haha. Pretty vague. You should use fancy words like guru or evangelist in your job title and nobody knows what you are doing precisely :). You already explained before you can't take a pension loss due to early retirement, isn't it?

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50 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

@HEM Individual Contributor, haha. Pretty vague. You should use fancy words like guru or evangelist in your job title and nobody knows what you are doing precisely :).

IC means "not a manager" - i.e. does the real work.

Somehow I got the title "<Name of my long-term project> Architect".

 

 

Quote

 

 

You already explained before you can't take a pension loss due to early retirement, isn't it?

 

Correct.

 

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