Salary and labour market

As an employee PhD candidate, you fall under the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. A separate salary scale with four steps applies to PhD candidates: P0 to P3. The current salary and more information about the Collective Labour Agreement can be found on the page CLA Dutch Universities of UNL.

See Working at Utrecht University for other employment conditions and information about Utrecht University as an employer.

Different conditions apply to PhD candidates who are not appointed as employees. For more information, see the page 'Types of PhD positions'.

I have finished my PhD: what now?

graduation ceremony Utrecht University
PhD ceremony. Photo by Ivar Pel

During your PhD track, we prepare you for the rest of your career. It is not about achieving one specific goal, but more about discovering what really suits you. You will acquire the knowledge and skills to determine your own follow-up route.

Almost three-quarters of those with doctorates end up in business or in other sectors of society. This is the conclusion of the KNAW in its report 'Promoveren werkt' (Dutch). That is why we pay attention in the PhD track to both a career within and outside the academic world. This is done, for example, through the two-day event 'PhACE' and throughout the year through Career Services.

PhDs are attractive to employers

As the KNAW describes in its aforementioned report, employers see that PhDs are often further along in their development than an employee with a Master's degree. The KNAW: “The PhD is especially better at independent and project-based work, written documentation (including writing publications) and oral presentation.

Specialisten van het UU Kankercentrum voor Dieren.
Specialists at the UU Cancer Center for Animals. Photo by Ivar Pel

“In addition, employers appreciate the fact that the PhD candidate has specialised in a particular area and, as a result, has acquired a broader and deeper range of research skills. The specialised knowledge and specific skills of PhDs can be put to good use by employers.”

And post-doctoral salary?

On this, the KNAW reports that a PhD who enters the labour market usually earns as much as an employee with a Master's degree and two years of work experience. PhDs have a relatively low income in the first years after receiving their Master's degree, but from 11 years of work experience onward, their annual income is higher.

“This higher income during the later years is sufficient to recoup the initial loss of income. The income pattern suggests a positive return on obtaining one's doctorate over the entire working life of between six and nine percent,” the KNAW said in its report.