这种经济上的损失在读博士后期间就开始了。根据美国国家科学基金会追踪数千位具有博士和博士后的人员职业生涯的数据，最新的报道指出：在1980~2010之间所有这些人中，在生物医学领域持续攻读4.5年的博士后人群中平均薪资为45,000美元。而那些一早就工作的博士们，则高达75,000美元。而那些生物医学博士后们在随后的非学术职业生涯中，想要弥补这一差距则需要8~9年的时间。来自波士顿大学的经济学家Shulamit Kahn,认为，这表明攻读博士后学位在非学术领域中的价值是微乎其微的。“博士后毕业后，你必须要损失这几年。因为你现在就是一个入门级的水平，而你攻读博士后的这几年时间是不能算作工作经验的。” Kahn 说道。
The price of doing a postdoc
For the overwhelming majority of Ph.D. holders who do not become tenured professors, spending time as a postdoc comes at a hefty price. Compared with peers who started working outside academia immediately after earning their degrees, ex-postdocs make lower wages well into their careers, according to a study published today in Nature Biotechnology. On average, they give up about one-fifth of their earning potential in the first 15 years after finishing their doctorates—which, for those who end up in industry, amounts to $239,970.
The financial sacrifice begins during the postdoc. As detailed in the new report, which uses National Science Foundation data to track the careers of thousands of people who earned Ph.D.s between 1980 and 2010, a typical postdoc in biomedicine lasts 4.5 years with an annual salary of about $45,000—as compared with the $75,000 or so paid as a median starting salary to Ph.D.s in industry. Biomedical postdocs who later enter the nonacademic workforce then face a pay gap that closes only after another 8 or 9 years. That’s evidence that a postdoc has little value outside of academia, says lead author Shulamit Kahn, an economist at Boston University.
“When you enter the job market at the end of a postdoc, you’ve essentially lost those years,” Kahn says. “You’re starting out at an entry level because a postdoc just doesn’t count in the way that job experience counts.”
The new finding is hardly surprising in the wake of other work that has highlighted the perils of being a postdoc, such as the 2014 National Academies report noting that the “sacrifices” made by postdocs “are not compensated later in their careers.” Nonetheless, the new study “provides some good—if dismal—data to further confirm the picture that the production model for scientists is a disaster,” says Hal Salzman, a labor economist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
This type of information is particularly important given that many graduate students’ and postdocs’ perspectives about their careers are at odds with these economic realities. In a 2016 study, postdocs tended to correctly estimate the slim odds of landing a tenure-track academic position. But about three-quarters of postdocs in life sciences also believed that postdoctoral research was important for getting a job in industry and began postdocs with little intention of going into academia. The new study highlights the error of this approach. “If you’re thinking that a postdoc is a way to get a good job in industry, this research would suggest that you’re making the wrong choice,” Salzman says.
Look it’s in our best interest to have you as a postdoc, but it may not be in your best interest.