Universities are an attractive employer for both young and established talent and they manage to attract new talent through doctoral and post-doctoral positions keyed to specific individual disciplines. High-quality teaching and research is inextricably linked to the quality of staff, and attracting and retaining that talent is vital. It is therefore crucial that universities provide transparent insight into their career opportunities, as there is no guarantee that an academic will be able to establish a career in the academic world. It is important to clarify how universities address this issue. How do they determine who does and who doesn't have career prospects at a particular university? How are academics prepared for careers outside the academic world?
Universities place a great deal of focus on their employees' careers. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CLA NU) for 1 January 2015 to 1 July 2016 includes the following statement with regard to this issue:
E. 12 Improving the labour market prospects of researchers and doctoral candidates
The parties have agreed to improve the labour market prospects of researchers with a temporary employment contract. It has been agreed that time and training will be provided within their working hours to write grant applications. Similarly, researchers will be given adequate scope within their working hours to be able to obtain the required teaching qualifications if they are suited, in the employer’s judgement, to a career as university lecturer, senior university lecturer or professor and also aspire to that position.
The parties have agreed to improve the employment market prospects of doctoral candidates. Doctoral candidates will be given the time within their employment to obtain the required qualifications for a continued academic career, or for career counselling and obtaining qualifications leading to broader labour market prospects. In addition, they will receive training in writing research applications. Universities will work actively to provide from job-to-job guidance for doctoral candidates.
Partly in response to the CLA, universities are focusing on the careers of doctoral candidates by devoting more time to career guidance and achieving qualifications that offer broader employment perspectives. Universities are actively working on guiding doctoral candidates from one job to the next. Furthermore, the VSNU also supports knowledge sharing between universities with regard to talent policy. For example, on 28 May 2015 a symposium on talent policy was organised for young academics in partnership with talent policy researchers Marian Thunnissen (HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht), Inge van der Weijden (Leiden University) and Pleun van Arensbergen (Radboud University Nijmegen). An extensive report on this symposium can be found here.
As well as at universities, talent policy also has an important place in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science's Academic Vision. Collaboration is also being conducted with SoFoKles (the Social Fund for the Knowledge Sector).