Interview with Susanne Leeb – new Director of the LBG Career Center
Since April 1, Susanne Leeb is the new director of the LBG Career Center. Read the interview and get insights into the next development steps of the LBG Career Center, the importance of career development and receive special career-path advice for you as a pre- or post-doc.
- Welcome to the LBG. How did you settle in during your first weeks at the LBG Career Center?
The first weeks were very intense, lively and dynamic, which is a good thing. I was warmly welcomed by the team and actively supported with advice and deeds right from the beginning. Many programs here at the LBG Career Center are just starting, such as the Leading Researchers Program or the Summer School LEAD_able, where the application deadline ended last week. Of course, we are already planning some exciting formats for the fall, such as the second round of the Digital Transformation in Research Program.
- What is your background and where does your passion for human resources development, especially for the career development of scientists, come from?
I studied business administration and have over 10 years of professional experience in human resources and organizational development in international, medium-sized companies. Previously, I worked at the Career Center of the Vienna University of Technology, where I was responsible for 5 years at the interface between university, science and industry for career counseling and development for students, graduates and pre/postdocs of the TU Vienna.
I experience how important it is to proactively deal with one’s development from a personal point of view and to focus on personnel development from a company’s point of view. The world of work is in motion and we are always evolving throughout life – different generations have different focuses and accompanying and supporting that, excites me. The situation in the science system is very special due to the limited number of positions and employment contracts – supporting young scientists to find their way is a particularly beautiful and important task, I am happy to share my expertise and to support here.
- What do you see as the most important tasks of the LBG Career Center in the future?
In April, we commissioned a study from the Institute for Advanced Studies (HIS), which once again clearly confirmed the need for support for early and individual career development opportunities for (young) scientists. We want to continue along this path and continue to support pre and post-docs on their individual career paths, whether in or outside of academia. We see ourselves as a competence center in the area of career development for (young) scientists at the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and other research organizations and universities, we especially have expertise in the field of intersectoral mobility. We plan to increase our cooperation with external partners and universities in the future, to promote career permeability and mobility and exchanges between sectors.
- What is particularly important to you in supporting pre- and post-docs in the Austrian research environment and where do you see the greatest need?
It is particularly important for us, to provide individual support to our pre- and post-docs, in accordance to their personal expectations and goals, which results in a tailored composition of our services. It is also important for us to leave a message that every career is valuable, whether inside or outside of academia. 2/3 of PhD students want to stay in academia, but 3 years after their graduation only less than 18% of all PhD graduates are employed at a university. This shows that early consideration of the next career steps is important, to be able to plan independently and according to own ideas and this is exactly where the LBG Career Center comes in.
- What advice would you give to pre- and post-docs and why or who should get in touch with the LBG Career Center?
A career is not exclusively linked to your professional focus, but also to your individual strengths, interests, competencies and values. Becoming aware of this is something I recommend to everyone. For example, at the LBG Career Center, we offer the possibility to conduct a potential analysis to become aware of your competencies and potentials. Building on this, we offer coaching and career consulting sessions with experts to identify goals, assess your potential, and to define next career steps. The better you know yourself and your expectations, the more targeted and appropriate you can plan your own career. Often there is not just one path or one career, but several suitable options and environments for a (meaningful) fulfilled professional life. In order to get to know your own potential and to compare it with possible suitable career paths without obligation, we offer customized services at the LBG Career Center and are happy to accompany you on your individual career path! We look forward to hearing from you!