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Science Careers Blog

October 16, 2009

Report Finds U.K. Postdocs Generally Satisfied with Their Lot

Most postdocs in the U.K. are generally satisfied with their current jobs and their work-life balance; however, up to a third of them don't feel that their wider contributions are appreciated, according to a new survey published by Vitae, the U.K.'s career development organization for postdocs (a.k.a. research staff) and graduate students.

The survey, which includes nearly 6000 responses, representing 16% of the total number of U.K. postdocs, from all disciplines -- not just science -- asked postdocs about their employment contracts, their job experience, experiences within their institutions, their career planning support, training and development, and their career aspirations.

Of those who responded:

  • 21% found their current positions by word of mouth only.
  • 71% feel they are integrated into their departmental research community.
  • 31% don't feel their efforts in managing staff and managing resources are appreciated.
  • 58% hope to have a career in higher education in 5 years' time that combines research and teaching.
  • 28% responded that they want to pursue a career outside of research.
  • 50% say they have a clear career plan.
In addition, 85% of the respondents had been postgraduate researchers for 1 to 5 years; 12.5% reported that they work part-time; and they're funded by a variety of mechanisms: 21% are funded by the institution, 38% by the research councils, 20% by charities, 6% by industry, 14% by the U.K. government, and 9% by the European Union or Commission.

The report's recommendations are mostly targeted at higher education institutions so they can best meet the needs of research staff. But if you'd like to have a look at the report to see how your answers might stack up against 6000 other postdocs, you can find the report on Vitae's Web site (links to PDF).


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