Research Culture: A survey-based analysis of the academic job market

Abstract

Many postdoctoral researchers apply for faculty positions knowing relatively little about the hiring process or what is needed to secure a job offer. To address this lack of knowledge about the hiring process we conducted a survey of applicants for faculty positions: the survey ran between May 2018 and May 2019, and received 317 responses. We analyzed the responses to explore the interplay between various scholarly metrics and hiring outcomes. We concluded that, above a certain threshold, the benchmarks traditionally used to measure research success – including funding, number of publications or journals published in – were unable to completely differentiate applicants with and without job offers. Respondents also reported that the hiring process was unnecessarily stressful, time-consuming, and lacking in feedback, irrespective of outcome. Our findings suggest that there is considerable scope to improve the transparency of the hiring process.

Publication
eLife
Chris Smith
Chris Smith
Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Dr. Smith is a neuroscientist interested in better understanding the human brain and passionate about science communication.

Nafisa M. Jadavji
Nafisa M. Jadavji
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jadavji has been involved in research with the Faculty Job Market Collaboration since 2018.

Ariangela J. Kozik
Ariangela J. Kozik
Research Investigator

Dr. Kozik is interested in the connections between host, microbiome, and environment in adult asthma. She is engaged in science communication work to make science more accessible to the general public and support the next generation of biomedical investigators.

Amanda Haage
Amanda Haage
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Haage is particularly interested in inclusive and evidence-based teaching practices at all levels, as well as bringing transparency to the faculty job search.