Some students might enjoy doing postdoctoral work, but the majority would like to find a rewarding career. I worked as a postdoc back in the early 1970s when my salary was $10,000 per year. Compared with that, today’s postdocs are lucky in terms of pay....
...I strongly support the idea of hiring retired industrial scientists as postdoctoral researchers in academe. With their years of exposure to industrial problem solving and product development, many retired scientists and engineers could contribute a lot to the research programs of principal investigators at universities. And the presence of a retired industrial scientist in a research group would benefit graduate students. Retired industry scientists could nurture grad students by, for example, holding informal sessions on industrial problem solving, thinking in terms of improving a company’s bottom line, addressing applied research problems, and so on. I am interested in contributing as a postdoc.
Sitaram RampalliFirst, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator, $10,000 between the years of 1970 and 1975 ranges between $41,000 and $60,000 in 2013 dollars. Seems to me to be fairly comparable to modern postdoc salaries, if not higher.
Orland Park, Ill.
Second, I would love to hear about postdoctoral fellowships and why more older/retired scientists aren't hired into said groups. My answer would probably be that 1) older scientists are typically not interested in the $30-50,000 (with no benefits) that postdocs are offered and that 2) principal investigators aren't interested in dealing with direct reports that are 20 years older than they are. Maybe I'm wrong.
(Honestly, wouldn't an adjunct position be a better fit?)