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Regardless of the proportion of postdoctoral appointees who are in a vocational ''holding pattern," their numbers are rising, and each year they vie with the new class of graduating PhDs for available positions. The postdoctoral appointees have an advantage in being able to offer more research experience and publications in competing for available research positions. That competition, in turn, increases the trends among new PhDs toward postdoctoral study and nontraditional jobs.

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