I have to add my views to this issue and find that I also agree with
A.P. Solari's comments that the situation has indeed changed over the
last 15 years. I, along with a large number of my peers are no longer
"junior" but we have struggled as we bounce from 1-2 year temporary
and soft-money positions. These positions encompass the full range
from federal and state government jobs to consultant groups and
academia. The lack of security, low pay, no benefits and other
problems associated with an uncertain future have taken a toll
on the lives of many talented scientists. I think this is
tragic. And unfortunately, the responses from several senior
members serve as examples of a pervasive view that things really
have not changed. "If you are a talented, energetic (=good)
scientist, you will have no problem securing a job." That simply
does not match reality. That would translate in concluding that
the, perhaps hundreds, of new Ph.D.s that do not immediately obtain
permanent positions are not "good" scientists. I would challenge the
seniors to re-assess the situation by examining the numbers
of applicants, the quality of the applicants and the numbers of
positions that are available. The journal SCIENCE has reported
on the prospects for employment over the last several years.
There are some very sobering trends.
In sum, I urge the seniors to listen more closely to what the
juniors are saying. It is not the old days...