Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

July 8, 2012

The wages of a life science Ph.D. (not high!)

Filed under: Culture,Evolutionary Genetics,Graduate School — Razib Khan @ 5:31 pm

A few people have emailed me about this article in The Washington Post, U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there. Other people cover this area well (for example), so I’m not going to say much. But first, ignore the article in the paper, and read the original survey which the article is based on: Science & Engineering Labor Force.


What the newspaper article added in terms of value was interviewing a small number of people. This is fine I suppose, but it adds no real substantive value, because you can’t really obtain a representative sample. Additionally, if you look at the employment data in the PDF I link to above you see that though things aren’t peachy for Ph.D.s, they are often far better than for people with less education. In other words you can’t just compare a science Ph.D. to some idealized full-employment world with 100% job satisfaction. In the real world everyone has to hustle now, and often it is better to hustle with a doctorate than not. What the PDF attached does illustrate is that the cost of forgone wages probably hits life science Ph.D.s in particular. The perpetual postdoc ...

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