Date: 14 Jan 2015 12:07
Number of posts: 8
RSS: New posts
interesting post. but it's not clear to me how "new doctoral grad" is operationalized, since in most areas of psych postdocs are totally standard, and that is Especially true for the neurosciences, adding to the suggested 'grain of salt'. I also bet the number of people who seek TT jobs varies by subdiscpline: clinical folks go have the (often more lucrative) option of going into private practice, ameliorating the job crunch there some. At any rate, cool data compilation, thanks for sharing!
Nice article, thanks for posting! I have been thinking about this while i sit on the job market, and I am wondering if universities and individual faculty members need to consider the ethical implications of admitting students that have no chance of getting an academic position after graduation. Of course, not not everyone who finishes a PhD wants to pursue academia, but I assume the majority do (outside of clinical). In a sense, a PhD is no different then doing an apprenticeship in a trade. A PhD student is training to become an academic. It seems that many universities (and some individual labs) are exploiting the desire to become an academic in order to get cheap labour. This increases research productivity without increasing costs normally associated with producing quality research in terms of salary, job security, health benefits, etc… Should schools be required to balance the number of PhDs they admit with the number of faculty they hire?
Thanks for posting that article - so interesting! In response to the above anon's comment about the ethical implications of admitting students who have no chance… you are so spot on. I think a large number of faculty do this because it's "cheaper" to take on a grad student than hire research staff, and they feel no qualms about asking someone to devote 5+ years of their life in pursuit of an unrealistic goal. (I'm skeptical that it's actually cheaper to take on a grad student, but I guess if you don't have grant funding, it's probably your only option for support staff.)
NPR has some really eye-opening stories about this topic. One is called "When Scientists Give Up" and another is called "Too few university jobs for America's young scientists." There are a couple other stories on this topic, but these two stories in particular are quite thought-provoking.
The comments above reminded me of this picture:
Thanks for posting - so interesting, although I suspect that factoring in post-docs would change the rank order quite a bit. Also, to clarify for anonon - private practice is generally not as lucrative nor as realistic a possibility for clinical psych PhDs as people think. These folks are competing with social workers and mental health counselors for positions as service providers across a variety of settings. Psychologists are almost always "more expensive" to hire or for insurance companies to reimburse for services. It is true that clinical psych PhDs have options to do work in settings beyond traditional academic psychology departments (i.e., academic medical centers, VAs), which may provide some relief, but private practice is becoming much less of a viable option for many. I will say that as a faculty member in a clinical science training program, we frequently discuss how to best prepare our students for an increasingly competitive job market as well as how to best encourage students to carefully evaluate their goals and progress before graduation. I would also say that graduate students, at least at my institution, are not cheap labor. There is a substantial financial investment as well as a personal investment of time and resources on the part of the mentoring faculty. Nonetheless, part of our jobs as mentors is to make ourselves and our students aware of the challenges and be open to reshaping our training models so that we can best prepare our students for a competitive and diverse job market.
I have to disagree with the last poster. The job of a phd supervisor is not to train students for a diverse job market, however due to the distorted market of phds and academic positions, that is the situation many supervisors are in. The job of a phd supervisor is to train students to be competent researchers (or clinicians). Undergraduate and masters level training should be used to train students for a diverse job market. PhD training is specialized training for a specific job.
We train our students to be competent researchers, instructors, and providers of clinical service. I should have been more precise and stated that we also educate them about the diverse contexts within which they can perform these skills. Maybe that's beyond the traditional scope of a Ph.D. supervisor, but it's a necessity. It is clearly problematic to assume that all Ph.D. students will go onto a tenure-track faculty position within an R1 institution like our own. We can either deny this and or help students learn more about opportunities where they can use their research skills. Personally, I would feel irresponsible as a mentor to take on graduate students without being able to provide them with guidance about the realities of the job market.