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  Topic: Employment in science.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Stephen Elliott

Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,08:54   

Something Louis said,

Unfortunately getting into academic jobs as an organic chemist is frighteningly difficult compared to many if not most fields of study. I really don't know why this should be the case, or if it is the consequence of the market.

After reading this comment earlier it got me do a little check. It is difficult for me to comprehend why people with such obvious talent would have a problem finding decent work.
Could this have something to do with it?


Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,12:35   

HHmm, lots of graduates?
No expansion of university research facilities?

I think we're onto a problem here.  Add that to the rather large number of companies that dont employ people here in the UK, and suddenly even organic chemistry seems a tricky topic.  

I thought, being more of a materials man myself, that organic chemists could go into industry, and earn 25,000 a year after getting a PhD.  One of my friends managed it, certainly.

Stephen Elliott

Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,12:53   

Yes, but wouldn't an awfull lot of PhDs prefer a research job over industry?
Seems like a problem to me.
I am assuming that most people who can and do obtain a science PhD would like to go on and spend their lives doing research.
A decent salary in industry is not a bad thing. But it isn't as mentally/soul satisfying as doing experimental cutting edge stuff like tenured research (I would think).

I doubt that I am making my point well. Just figured that a person with a PhD in a science subject would be likely to want to be in the business of discovering real new knowledge.


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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,16:42   

Weeeeelll, you;d be suprised, maybe.  I have no idea about the actual figures, but starting with people I know who did degrees- many of them are no longer employed in the subject area of their degree, since eitehr there were no jobs, or else they had had enough of the subject by the time they had finished uni.  Same with PhD's, by the time you've spent 3 years trying to do something, you may well be fed up with that subject.

Then, the article you linked to is also USA'ian, and as such not representative of what we have in the UK.
Its interesting though.  I'll come back to it later, its just i'm a bit busy just now.

Chris Hyland

Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,19:12   

Yes, but wouldn't an awfull lot of PhDs prefer a research job over industry?
The article says that 18% of life science phds end up with tenure. In my experience thats about the percentage who actually want jobs in academia. There's lots of research jobs available in industry with better pay than academic jobs.


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Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2006,21:38   

Actually *cough* there are not a lot of degree-holders in the sciences who think of becoming librarians, in both academia and industry.

There seems to be a real need for them. (It's apparently so hard to fill the open positions they'll even hire those with a B.A. in the humanities, something I'm hoping to exploit.) A lot of government institutions, such as the Smithsonian, don't even require an MLIS degree.

These are not "shushing matron" positions, but good paying and fulfilling jobs if you like to work with primary sources and other literature, and doing text and online research for others. One speaker who visited my class described being a reference librarian in chemistry (she did not have a science degree either, so had to undergo some crash training), and it sounded like fun to me.

Just putting that out there.

Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

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