Scientists Discuss Career Satisfaction

By Ryan Bloxham

How satisfied are you with your career as a scientist? Do you feel adequately compensated for your work? Have you ever considered leaving your career in science? The Science Advisory Board set out to explore the answers to these questions. We interviewed over 600 of your fellow members from various disciplines across the world to understand their personal experiences and thoughts on the subject.

Click here to access our full report on careers in the life sciences.

Surviving graduate school and getting your dream job in the sciences can take years of persistent work. In addition to the time-consuming process of acquiring a degree, hours of research and hands-on experience in the lab are required. After such an arduous process, one hopes that there will be a significant payoff. Yet, our results showed that only 18% of members surveyed are “highly satisfied” with their current position, and that 45% were “highly dissatisfied”. Even more, 50% of respondents said that they have considered leaving their career in the sciences.

This surprising result can be explained by many different factors. We asked, “what is your greatest source of work-related frustration?” Respondents ranked “internal politics”, “inadequate project funding”, and “insufficient compensation” as their top frustrations. Academic professionals in particular expressed the lack of funding for their projects as a pain-point. These frustrations are then compounded by lack of support from institutions/companies and dissatisfaction with the quality of facilities and infrastructure.

Despite the frustrations conveyed by your colleagues, their desire to make the world a better place and passion for science motivates them to continue in their chosen profession. Only 11% said that they are “highly likely” to act upon their interest to leave the lab. When asked if they would “do it all over again” if given the chance, 57% of respondents answered “yes”, 24% answered “no”, and the remaining 19% answered “unsure”. In short, their mission is what members find most rewarding.

Our report details these topics and more involved with careers in the sciences. We explored the consequences of the dissatisfaction respondents are reporting – specifically how some are pursuing sources of additional income, considering relocating to more attractive cities or countries, or exploring alternative careers that still utilize their scientific knowledge. We will be detailing these issues in future blog posts, but you can access the full report now!

Click the image below to view the full-length study on careers in the life sciences.

What do you think? Are you satisfied with your career in the sciences thus far? Do you agree with your colleagues? What are your thoughts on our report? Write a comment below!

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