I could talk about the 2012 ACS Presidential Commission Report on Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences a lot, but instead, I think I'll just quote a few statements of fact that were made:
"Given what seems to be a permanently restructured employment market for PhDs, the Commission perceives a risk that the number of career opportunities in the chemical science professions may be insufficient to accommodate those qualified for and desiring entry."
"In the last decade, 300,000 jobs have been lost in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. This total is larger than the entire US pharmaceutical employment base. Large US research facilities have been closed and sizable systematic reductions in domestic research capabilities have been implemented or announced, apparently driven in significant part by consolidation in the industry. Some of the reduced functions have been outsourced to other technologically strong nations."On too many chemists:
"A large undergraduate teaching need is not a sufficient justification for a large graduate program."
"In discussing the employment scene earlier in this chapter, the Commission was frank in its assessment that the current rate of PhD production is too large. While some portion of the excess reflects the current stage of the business cycle, there is evidence, in the growth of postdoctoral employment and in stagnant salaries over a long term, that the nation is producing a systematic excess of PhDs."On teaching undergraduates:
"While graduate students are certainly exposed to teaching through teaching assistantships, their experiences generally are not drawn from carefully crafted programs designed to teach students how to teach."On postdocs:
"Some statistics about postdoctoral associates are enlightening. In 2009, the most recent year for which the NSF has published detailed data, there were approximately 4200 postdocs in chemistry, 2350 in biochemistry, and 1100 in chemical engineering. The percentages of temporary visa holders in these groups were 64.7%, 60.7%, and 62.4%, respectively."
"A significant problem in the current employment pipeline for chemists is a bulge at the postdoctoral level. Particularly in more biological areas of chemistry, many current postdocs have previously been postdocs for one or even two appointments. For these individuals, the second, or later, postdoctoral appointment serves largely as a buffer zone in the ebb and flow of the job market; it is not a position that significantly improves one’s job chances." (emphasis mine)Quite an indictment of the current state of affairs.