Figure 3.14

Number of US life-science PhDs by sector, 1973–1995.

Data from table F.8.

fellows,6 other (nontenured or non-tenure-track) academics, other including self-employed, and the group containing unemployed, part-time, and PhDs now working outside science and engineering.

The results of the changing employment patterns are illustrated in figure 3.15. The figure shows changes in the number of life scientists employed in each sector—or unemployed and seeking employment—in three periods: 1973–1981, 1981–1989, and 1993–1995, the latest period on which data are available. In the 1970s, by far the largest increase in the workforce was in faculty jobs (41.5% of the total growth); in the 1980s, industrial positions accounted for the largest share of additions to the workforce (28.1% of the total growth), just ahead of faculty positions. However, in 1993–1995, the total growth in faculty and industry workforce was less than the increase in the numbers of persons in temporary and under use positions (postdoctoral and other nonfaculty staff, unemployed, part-time employed, and outside science and engineering), which accounted for 45.4% of the growth in life-science "workforce", compared with about 25% in earlier years. The data in figure 3.15 help to explain the conundrum of a growing workforce, a low rate of unemployment, and a high level of dissatisfaction among life scientists seeking to establish careers. Compared to previous years, an increasing percentage of these younger life scientists are in temporary positions.


Figure 3.14 used Survey of Doctorate Recipients data, which include only US citizens and permanent residents. The numbers of postdoctoral fellows shown in the figure are therefore lower than the numbers shown in chapter 2.

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