For those of you(us) considering academia for your future careers, I have some bad news for you:

> Our findings suggest that there is no single clear path to a faculty job offer and that metrics such as career transition awards and publications in high impact factor journals were neither necessary nor sufficient for landing a faculty position.

@jrhawley With my utterly short academic CV, it actually offers some hope…

@jrhawley wow didn’t realize it was *that* bleak, I thought landing those achievements were highly random but assumed that job offers would follow. Thanks for this.

@22 @jrhawley I suppose this is about the situation in the US?
Right now my department, and many other departments at many UK universities, have more open positions than we can fill.

@wim_v12e I guess your observation and the study's findings aren't mutually exclusive? Universities may be unable to find hires (because their requirements are so high?) while simultaneously the majority of PhDs is unable to find tenure-track positions (because they lack the achievements, or even knowledge of which achievements would make them more employable, per @jrhawley's excerpt).

Or it could be a US thing, the paper's introduction mentions "specifically in the United States".

@22 @jrhawley It suspect it is quite different in the US. In the UK the concept of "tenure" does not really exist. When you are hired as a lecturer (~assistant prof), you have an open ended contract. Then you can just try to work your up the promotion ladder. But PhD graduates can't generally become lecturer right away, they almost always have to do a few years of postdoc.

On the other hand, there will always be far fewer academic positions and postdoc positions than PhD graduates.

@22 @jrhawley I just wanted to make the point that we are hiring a lot of early-career academics, and so are other universities, so it is not quite so bleak.

@wim_v12e @22 Good points. Respondents were from the US/UK/Canada and applying to jobs in those 3 countries, and they were mostly in the life sciences.

It seems like the lack of clear qualifications can make it hard for hiring committees to make decisions on "what a qualified candidate is", which also makes it difficult for others applying to those institutions

@wim_v12e @22 The most confusing thing for me, though, is that things like number of publications, fellowships, citations, etc, didn't discriminate that much between people to get first interviews

That is indeed quite odd. In the UK publications will matter most, esp. for early-career staff. For more senior staff, grant income.
The reason is the Research Excellence Framework, an exercise which assesses performance of departments based on publications. So hiring people with top publications is really important.
I means however that hiring is based on achievement rather than potential, which biases against some early-career staff.


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