Monday, February 18, 2013

What to do with a science PHD?

Labguru sent a newsletter today, containing an overview of career possibilities for science PhDs.  I had no idea the numbers changed so dramatically over the last forty years:
“in 1973, 55 percent of PhD recipients had tenure-track positions within six years of earning their PhDs. In 2006, merely 15 percent of recent graduates found themselves in this position.”
Whether the cause of this is employer driven 'academic inflation' or research driven reliance on 'graduate student and postdoc labor for publications and output', as Labguru suggests, is a matter for another day of finger pointing.  For now, Labguru's intended audience seems strange to me:
If you are reading this while you’re on your second, third or even fourth postdoc, you’re not alone, and are far from the minority.
I don't think I know anyone that's on a fourth postdoc.  If there are readers on their fourth postdoc, please tell me your story, regardless of whether it's good or bad!