• The number of persons in the postdoctoral pool has been increasing steadily and is now about 20,000.

Those several changes have had a serious effect on the labor market for life scientists. Throughout the roughly 30-year period being considered in this report, the cohort of young scientists entering the workforce has been much larger than the cohort that they replace (those who had completed their training 30 or so years earlier). Although the number of life scientists reaching retirement age has been steadily increasing, so has the number entering the workforce. For example, some 2,700 doctorates were awarded in 1965, compared with 7,696 in 1996. The impact of these trends on career opportunities for young PhDs is examined in detail in the chapter 3.


Finn MG, Pennington LA, Anderson KH. 1996. Who stays—who leaves: foreign PhDs eight years after graduation. Presented at 1996 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

NRC (National Research Council). 1978. A century of doctorates: data analysis of growth and change. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

NRC (National Research Council). 1995. Study of research doctorate programs in the United States: Continuity and Change. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

NSF (National Science Foundation). 1995. Survey of graduate students and postdoctorates in science and engineering. Washington, DC: NSF.

Van Ryzin G, Dietz S, Weiner J, Wright D. 1995. The employment outlook in the microbiological sciences, 1995. http://www.asmusa.org/pasrc/empoutlk.pdf.

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