Science Many junior scientists need to take a hard look at their job prospects

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    For his 2012 PhD thesis, the sociologist Chris Platts surveyed and interviewed more than 300 young footballers — aged 17 and 18 — at UK club academies who were hoping to pursue a career in the game. He told the newspaper The Guardian this month that just four of them currently have gained a professional contract. That’s a drop-out rate of 99%.

    For our Careers section this week, Nature surveyed more than 5,700 early-career scientists worldwide who are working on PhDs. Three-quarters of them, they told us, think it’s likely that they will pursue an academic career when they graduate, just like Platts — now a senior lecturer in sport development and sport business management at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. How many will succeed?

    Statistics say these young researchers will have a better chance of pursuing their chosen job than the young footballers. But not by much. Global figures are hard to come by, but only three or four in every hundred PhD students in the United Kingdom will land a permanent staff position at a university. It’s only a little better in the United States.

    Simply put, most PhD students need to make plans for a life outside academic science. And more universities and PhD supervisors must make this clear.

    That might sound like an alarmist and negative attitude for the International Weekly Journal of Science. But it has been evident for years that international science is training many more PhD students than the academic system can support. Most of the keen and talented young scientists who responded to our survey will probably never get a foot in the door. Of those who do, a sizeable number are likely to drift from short-term contract to short-term contract until they become disillusioned and look elsewhere.


    Read more here. (Nature)
     

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