The impact of postdoctoral training on early careers in biomedicine

Journal name:
Nature Biotechnology
Volume:
35,
Pages:
90–94
Year published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/nbt.3766
Published online

While postdocs are necessary for entry into tenure-track jobs, they do not enhance salaries in other job sectors over time.

At a glance

Figures

  1. Trends in PhDs and postdoc training.
    Figure 1: Trends in PhDs and postdoc training.

    (a) Trends over time in the number of biomedical PhDs awarded, number of biomedical PhDs in postdocs, and the percentage of biomedical PhDs starting their careers in postdocs. (b) Average number of years spent in graduate school, in postdocs, and in total training.

  2. Estimated associations between 17 factors and the likelihood of starting one's career in a postdoc (within 3 years of PhD) with 95% confidence intervals, using probit model.
    Figure 2: Estimated associations between 17 factors and the likelihood of starting one's career in a postdoc (within 3 years of PhD) with 95% confidence intervals, using probit model.

    Excluded family category: single males. *Variable coefficients are graphed as the impact of the difference between being at the 10th percentile vs. the 90th percentile.

  3. Percent of biomedical PhDs who started their careers with a postdoc, and those who did not, shown for each of five employment sectors, 10 years after degree awarded.
    Figure 3: Percent of biomedical PhDs who started their careers with a postdoc, and those who did not, shown for each of five employment sectors, 10 years after degree awarded.

    Shown with 95% confidence intervals.

  4. Time trends in the percentage of all working biomedical PhDs employed in each of five sectors, 10 years after degree awarded.
    Figure 4: Time trends in the percentage of all working biomedical PhDs employed in each of five sectors, 10 years after degree awarded.

    Trends are smoothed taking 3-year moving averages.

  5. Predicted inflation-adjusted salary (2013 dollars) 1-15 years after PhD completion.
    Figure 5: Predicted inflation-adjusted salary (2013 dollars) 1–15 years after PhD completion.

    (a–d) Salaries shown for those with and without postdoc experience by 10-year sector (a), academic non-TT research (b), industry (c), and government/nonprofit (d). Shown with 95% confidence intervals.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Shulamit Kahn is in the Markets, Public Policy and Law Department, Questrom School of Business, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

  2. Donna K. Ginther is in the Department of Economics and Center for Science, Technology & Economic Policy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA, and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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