Katrijn Vanderweyden
Katrijn Vanderweyden
Employment Policy and Diversity Advisor, SERV

Specialised knowledge of the labour market

"My job is to facilitate consultation between social partners on labour market policies. In more concrete terms, this involves convening meetings, preparing agendas, coordination, and encouraging dialogue and opinions.
During my PhD I followed developments and trends in the labour market at the Flemish, Belgian and international level. My PhD has been the perfect preparation for this job, though it took a few years before I finally ended up here.

My doctoral studies certainly helped me to strengthen some specific qualities that are particularly useful in my current position. That includes my written and oral communication skills, and the further development of my analytical skills.

Specialise, or go very broad?

I would definitely encourage students to pursue a PhD.

But in the first place, do it for yourself and not necessarily for your career. A PhD helps you to develop a broad view of society. Generally I do not think you can recommend whether people should specialise or maintain a broader perspective during their doctoral studies. For some people, specialising in a particular area may be the best. Keep your options open and go with your instincts. But above all: don’t get stuck in your research area. Establish useful contacts and broaden your horizon. That is one of the most rewarding aspects of doctoral studies – both in terms of content and in human terms."