Biomedical Science Ph.D. Career Interest Patterns by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

Interesting analysis by Kenneth Gibbs Jr. featured in PLoS one about trends in biomed science careers based on race and gender.  Importantly, the group finds that on average, scientists from all social backgrounds show decreased interest in faculty careers at research universities, and significantly increased interest in non-research careers at Ph.D. completion relative to entry. Furthermore, under-represented minority women were more likely than any other group to report high interest in non-research careers. Check it out!

Conclusions from the report:

The data presented in this study are not meant to suggest that all Ph.D. recipients should express interest in being faculty members. There are many career paths for Ph.D. biomedical scientists. At the same time, diversity in the nation’s science faculties and research workforce has remained a priority at the institutional and federal levels because of the benefits with respect to creativity in problem solving, student retention, and student learning.

These data strongly suggest that policy solutions that focus principally on increasing the supply of talent from underrepresented backgrounds (often referred to as increasing the “pipeline”), will not be adequate for significantly enhancing representation on science faculties, as evidenced by the disparate career interest patterns across social identity in recent Ph.D. graduates. Ultimately, more qualitative work addressing not only how, but why individual interests change, and whether there are unique factors impacting underrepresented groups is needed so that policy makers can more effectively design interventions and strategies to strengthen the biomedical enterprise through enhanced workforce and professorial diversity.

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