|What I got when I clicked on NPR's link for Ph.D. work|
in "other fields."
There actually are jobs – in industry, consulting, government and other fields. Biomedical postdocs rarely end up unemployed. But many can't pursue their academic dreams, and they are often in their late 30s or even older before they realize that.The fact that the link that the "other fields" sends you to is dead is a rather delicious irony.
Richard Harris elides a couple of issues in this short paragraph (which is fine -- reporters are pressed for space and they can't cover all aspects of an issue):
- For biomedical researchers, the number of industrial and governmental research positions is relatively limited and there aren't enough open slots to absorb all the postdocs there are.
- While biomedical postdocs rarely end up unemployed, there is no measurement for underemployment, which is a real problem.
- Harris alludes to, but does not cover, 1) the massive time to degree issue of biomedical Ph.D.s (7+ years) and then the time period of a couple of postdocs. Let's face it, you can't take over a decade to train for a career, not get that career and not suffer a massive amount of opportunity cost.