Respondents consider this area very important - especially because advisers may not have a full understanding of potential employment settings, especially nonacademic settings. Students need to know more about the following, by field:
- Placement record of various programs.
- Alternative career paths at various levels of education, including B.S. and M.S. levels.
- Realistic notions of career demands (time, financial, personal) in various areas of study, versus the intellectual rewards.
- Frank assessments of what it is like to work in a given field. Preconceptions are often misconceptions. For example, do undergraduates realize how much writing scientists do? Do they know how much time, energy and skill must be devoted to obtaining research grants? Do they have any idea of the day-to-day frustrations and rewards of working in industry versus academia?
- Starting salaries.
- Main source of employment. If it is an industry, what is the long-term prognosis for the health of that industry?
- Employment prospects after 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years.
- Average hours worked per week.
- How well does one's desired standard of living match the typical income level of the profession?
- How many of an institution's graduates succeed in their field of study?
- Rate of employment turnover for recent graduates.
- How many jobs are there per job-seeker? (In today's tight job market, several correspondents on the Young Scientists' Network have used the estimate of one job for every six science and engineering graduates.)
- Qualities and skills valued by industrial employers.
- Grant-related opportunities available to young scientists as both graduate students and postdoctorates. How many years will they have to wait to gain independence?
The third question asked was, "When do you think students need this information? Do they need it at one stage or at many stages? Which information is needed at what stages?" The responses could be summarized as follows:
"The information needs to be available at many stages. People come gradually to new understandings and new questions, and reassess their progress continually. So the information needs to be available and findable when they're ready for it."