I want to work in a University

Find out how you can start a career working in a University. Here we list potential job roles and some of the leading companies in that sector.

Job roles

Universities are large organisations and often rank amongst an area's top employers. For example locally Canterbury Christ Church and the University of Kent are large employers of over 1000 staff

Universities offer career opportunities in many different fields, which can be divided into two main categories:

Academic careers

An academic position is the main career goal for many research students, and higher education will often offer the best opportunities to use your postgraduate studies directly. However, this is not an easy option: the job market for lecturers and contract researchers is getting tougher and it is increasingly rare for postgraduates to obtain a position as a lecturer immediately after completing their PhD.

Lecturer in Higher Education

Academic support

As well as “traditional” academic-related roles, universities are increasingly reducing the administrative role of academic staff by employing staff in a variety of management and support roles. These roles include:

  • Accommodation, catering and conference services
  • Administration
  • Arts, music and events
  • Careers, employability and enterprise
  • Financial management
  • Health & safety
  • Human resource management
  • IT and systems support
  • Library and information services
  • Public relations and marketing posts
  • Scientific support, e.g. laboratory technicians
  • Student welfare and support: counselling and advice services,  disability support, international student support


Vacancies in these areas may be advertised at national level in the Guardian, Times Higher Education and jobs.ac.uk but, at entry-level grades, may only be advertised in local papers or on the individual university’s website.

Find out more

You may also be interested in our pages on Teaching in Further Education and Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Teaching in Schools and Colleges: a number of postgraduates will go on to train as teachers, either through a PGCE course or while working in a school. Funding to cover fees and maintenance may be available for PGCEs, depending on the subject. A PhD may be looked on favourably in private schools and further education colleges, but a teaching qualification is not an essential requirement to teach in these types of schools, although it can be advantageous. If you intend to teach in schools, you should have some work experience with the relevant age-range.
Researchers in schools- a tailored route into teaching exclusively for PhD graduates.

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