Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he considers the changing job market and what the pros and cons are for PhDs in 2023

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah takes a glance back at the job market back when Cheeky Scientist was founded in 2014
  • Next, he compares the challenges PhDs faced back then and considers what’s changed since
  • Finally, Isaiah concludes by exploring why the current job market looks promising for PhDs, even with the growing number of PhD grads in the running

From This Week’s Show…

A Lot Has Changed In The Job Market And Academia Since Cheeky Scientist Was Founded

I want to take you back to 2014. 

I know – that was forever ago. But I want to take you back there because that’s the year Cheeky Scientist was born. 

And after 9 years, I thought it’d be a fun to look back and see how the job market has changed for PhDs.

Back in 2014, Cheeky Scientist had less than 30 members. Now, we’re 10,000 strong and counting. 

This growth is partly due to organic expansion, but it’s also a reflection of what’s happening in academia. 

To start, there are way more PhDs now. According to the National Science Foundation, in 2008, a little over 45,000 PhDs were awarded in the US. 

In 2020, that number rose to almost 60,000. 

The second major difference between 2008 and now is that people are leaving academia in droves.

Some of this mass exodus is forced while a lot of it is voluntary. 

Undergrad enrollment is down 20% which means that universities’ revenue is also down 20%. 

When that happens, guess who gets the axe? The highly paid tenured professors, of course.

So, professors are getting pushed out en masse. Meanwhile, PhD students and recent grads are seeing the writing on the wall – there’s zero future for them in academia. 

Layoffs In Academia Are Pushing PhDs Into Industry, Which Means More Competition. But It Also Means…

Now, why should any of this matter to you? I’ll give you 2 reasons. 

First, the bad news. Compared with 2008, you have way more competition. 

An increase of 15,000 more PhDs awarded per year over 8 years doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s still 15,000 more people with the same level of education as you that are also looking for a job, just like you. 

If you’re in a STEM field, this competition is even more palpable. 

Now, for the good news. 

PhDs aren’t so obscure in industry as they were before. 

Back in 2008, PhDs were unicorns. There may have been one here or there, but for the most part, PhDs stayed in the confines of their ivory tour. 

And for those in industry, most were in R&D positions. Because that’s all industry thought PhDs were capable of – research. 

But now, with so many more PhDs jumping the academic ship, PhDs are not the special unicorns they once were.

 And how is this good, you ask? 

It’s good for you because industry employers are now beginning to see the value that PhDs bring to the table. 

Before, PhDs were seen as overspecialized nerds that knew way too much about esoteric topics that no one cares about. 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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