Postdocs face dissatisfaction putting life on hold for their research: Editorial


Drawing on a recent study, Linda Nordling discusses the impact of challenges such as temporary contracts, low salaries, and cost of living on postdoctoral fellows. Nordling writes that while postdocs under age 30 are often initially excited about a career in academia, those who were 31-to-40 years old had a more negative outlook. Career dissatisfaction was higher among those who were completing their third or fourth postdoc (34%) than for those completing their first (24%). Nordling writes that the older postdocs often had changing priorities and personal goals that are not compatible with postdoc hours and pay, such as wanting to settle more permanently and raise a family. “When you see your contemporaries doing regular jobs that didn’t require much studying, and they’re earning more and seeming happier, you can imagine that the enthusiasm for this career path dwindles very fast,” commented postdoc Marc Van Goethem.