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Luxembourg offers promising career development opportunities for PhDs in economics

Alper Unsal

Luxembourg offers promising career development opportunities for PhDs in economics


On average across OECD countries, 25–64 year-olds with a doctorate have the highest employment rate of all educational attainment levels, according to a recently published article on Labour market perspectives for PhD graduates in Europe. PhD holders do not only seem to enjoy a high employment rate, but the transition to employment after a PhD also appears to be relatively fast.

Alper Ünsal is a PhD candidate in economics at the Luxembourg Institute for Socio-Economic Research (LISER) aiming to get a job in the non-academic sector in Luxembourg. To make a smooth transition to industry, the young researcher joined the EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme.

An experienced economist with highly-demanded soft skills

Before coming to Luxembourg to do a PhD in labour economics, migration economics and health economics, Alper obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Boğaziçi and two master’s degrees in economics, respectively at the University of Boğaziçi and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

With my solid academic background, experience in research, economic/mathematical modelling and programming, combined with soft skills ranging from perseverance, technical learning and adaptability, I could be a great asset to a company or institution. Alper Ünsal

As such, he plans to apply to international companies to financial analyst/business analyst positions, and senior economist positions in EU institutions such as the European Commission or the European Investment Bank.

Luxembourg…Where else?

In the last two years he has lived in Luxembourg, the researcher has come to realise that it is one of the best places for him to live. Benefits are multiple, starting with high working conditions, such as high salaries, working hours allowing for a good work/life balance, long yearly leaves, an attractive pension scheme.


It is a unique country in the world with almost everyone being of foreign origin, leading to a very high level of cultural/ethnical diversity. Alper Ünsal



The ideal working destination for PhDs in economics

Luxembourg offers very good career development opportunities for PhDs in economics. Indeed, the country is home to prestigious international companies and important European institutions, which Alper considers to be optimal workplaces for him. 

With just over 150,000 companies registered in Luxembourg at the end of 2021 (the Luxembourg Business Registers) and a great number of European institutions, agencies and bodies, including, in particular the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the  European Court of Auditors, or the  European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) and more, Alper has plenty to choose from and a lot to offer.

Impactful mentoring to navigate the transition from academia to industry

In the framework of the EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme, Alper was supported by Artur Furtado, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission. Together they highlighted Alper's strengths that would be of interest to potential employers. Thanks to his mentor's suggestion to prepare a concrete vision of his career, the researcher was able to set his goals for the next 5-10 years.

While I am currently focused on finishing my doctoral thesis, I believe the EURAXESS Luxembourg mentoring programme will affect my performance positively in the upcoming months. Alper Ünsal

Watch the video of Alper Ünsal speaking about his research

About 2getthere

2getthere is a free-of-charge mentoring programme managed by EURAXESS Luxembourg dedicated to PhD candidates who see their future career outside academia in Luxembourg. Discover more about 2getthere.  

Read more tips from our 2getthere programme.