The postdoc experience depends on gender and mentorship.

Results from the National Postdoc Suvery

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Here are some of the highlights I picked out from the BioRxiV paper "Career Choice, Gender, and Mentor Impact: Results of the U.S. National Postdoc Survey":

  • About half of postdocs are female; however, most of their mentors (~3/4) are male. These data are consistent with the findings that a majority of full-time faculty are male. Additionally, men are more likely to have a same-sex mentor (a same-gender role model).

  • Significantly more male postdocs are married/partnered and/or have children than female postdocs.

  • Men are paid more than women. The gender wage gap increases with postdoc age but not with married/partnership status.

  • Male postdocs are also more likely than women to have received PhD degrees in Engineering and the Physical Sciences, two fields that offer higher salary opportunities. (However, women in Physical Science fields are being paid slightly more than men.)

  • Male postdocs are more interested in academic research positions than female postdocs. Postdocs who are not US citizens also report more interest in academic research positions than postdocs who are US citizens. (However, men are more likely to be non-US citizens than women.)

  • Perceived mentor support, number of postdoc publications, hours worked per week, conferences attended, and postdoc feelings of career preparedness are correlated with the choice to pursue a research-focused academic career.

  • More than half of respondents were satisfied with the mentorship they receive, with similar responses from both genders. Perceived mentor support had a positive effect on mentor satisfaction, as did frequency of mentor meetings, perception of preparedness for desired future career, and perception of job market.

These statements were made after reading the full length article in BioRiv. Here is a link to the full article:

Marie-Elizabeth Barabas

Consulting Editor, Springer Nature

I'm an interdisciplinary neuroscientist with a research background in peripheral sensory/pain research, retinoblastoma, retinal development, and stem cell research. As a Consulting Editor for Communications Biology, I primarily handle their neuroscience-relevant content. I also attend conferences and meetings to develop a relationship with our readers, authors, and editors. If you see me at a conference, feel free to introduce yourself.