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Postdoc Might Not Help

Two studies have suggesting that doing a postdoc might not help researchers snag a job, Nature News reports.

In the first paper, Arizona State University's Christopher Hayter and California State University, Los Angeles' Marla Parker note that most postdocs do not go on to a tenure-track academic position. As they report in Research Policy, Hayter and Parker interviewed 97 postdocs over the course of two years. Of those, five secured academic positions in that timeframe. But they also found that postdocs have a hard time getting a non-academic job as they lack skills non-academic employers are looking for.

To combat this, Hayter tells Nature News that universities should consider implementing programs that teach postdocs needed entrepreneurial skills. But, Channah Herschberg from Radboud University notes that teaching postdocs new skills might not be high on PI's priority lists.

She and her colleagues report in Scandinavian Journal of Management that PIs tend to hire postdocs who aren't necessarily ideal academic candidates, but individuals who can and are willing to perform the short-term project at hand. They also found that the recruitment process is often informal, reliant on the hiring PI's established network, and lacks transparency.