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What’s the state of hiring researchers in science? Share your insights with Nature

Written by: Linda Nordling
Published on: 19 Jun 2024


Nature launches its first survey on recruiting and hiring researchers. Group and lab leaders, tell us how you find the best candidates and learn how to enter our £100 prize draw. Credit: Sanjeri/Getty

Nature’s first survey of global hiring practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is now live. If you are a lab leader, head up a research group or make staffing decisions on your science team, we want to hear from you.

The survey, created in partnership with Thinks Insight & Strategy, a research consultancy based in London, covers all parts of the recruitment process from posting positions and screening applications, to the interview stage and later negotiations. Reaching out to employers across academia, industry and other sectors, it asks them about the biggest challenges they face and their top tips for identifying great candidates.

Spiralling living costs and cuts to research funding have meant that some research teams are struggling to fill vacancies; others complain about being flooded with low-quality applications. “With so much going on in the STEM career space, we want to find out which factors make or break an application and the qualities and skills that recruiters look for in job candidates,” says Kendall Powell, senior careers editor at Nature.

In common with Nature’s previous workforce surveys, which have been running since 2010, the results of this 15-minute survey will be published later this year alongside a series of articles. The survey will run until 12 July and can be found here, together with instructions for how to opt in to a cash prize draw that will see four survey-takers each win £100, or the US equivalent, as a thank you for participating.

Previous surveys have delved into the challenges faced by early-career researchers such as postdocs and graduate students, as well as investigating scientists’ overall satisfaction with their jobs and salaries. “Gathering data on recruitment trends and hearing first-hand from employers about their experiences of attracting high-quality talent will provide valuable information that we can distil and share with our readers,” says Powell. “As early-career researchers draft CVs, craft cover letters and learn new skills, we hope the survey results will prepare them to make their best possible entry into the job market,” says Powell.