How do we like our work?


The fact that PhD life is tough is no secret – but what keeps us going despite all the difficulties? To put it simply, we love our work, and find it motivating and inspiring!  Our survey data shows that the majority of PhD students in Denmark find their tasks interesting and inspiring, and most of us find our work motivating. But when it comes to recommending a PhD to others, the picture is slightly less optimistic. In a few words – we like our jobs, but think it’s not necessarily for everyone.

According to the survey, a large majority of PhD students thinks the tasks they perform as a part of their job are interesting and inspiring:


It is not surprising that people who are attracted to research and the pursuit of knowledge would enjoy working with it, but it is definitely a good sign when it comes to the type of work done – that the majority doesn’t consider that their tasks are not suited for their interests or abilities.

When it comes to feeling motivated and engaged to do their work, the answers are still positive:

While the majority feels sufficiently motivated, there is a more expressive number of PhDs who are having difficulties feeling motivated and engaged, despite their passion for their projects and their work. While we cannot establish direct causal links, the difficulties caused by the pandemic, as well as issues with mental health and stress could be a possible answer for the gap between the enjoyment of work and the motivation and engagement with it.

The last data we wanted to highlight is the likelihood of recommending someone else do a PhD:

Here, PhD students seem more split about whether they would recommend a PhD to someone else. Of course, actual advice to friends would depend on the inclinations and temperament of the person asking whether a PhD is a good idea, but the answers to this question give an insight into how PhD students think about their workplace in terms of desirability in general – whether they think it is, all in all, a good place to work.

In summary, PhD students find their work interesting and inspiring, and for the most part are motivated and engaged with it – but are a bit hesitant in considering recommending it to others.