Chart of the Month: Portrait of a Post-Doc

APSA 2017-2018 Graduate Placement Report, Part Two

Analyzing the 2017-18 Graduate Placement Survey, we found that political science job market candidates’ placements into Post-Doc positions reached an 8-year peak, with 2 in 10 placing into a Post-Doc positions as a first-time placement. What does this 1/5th of job market candidates look like? We investigate in our recent Chart of the Month “Portrait of a Post-Doc”.

Notably, candidates who place into Post-Docs are more male, and less diverse than the rest of the pool of candidates on the market. 64% are male, and 75% are from non-underrepresented race and ethnic groups. No candidate placed in a Post-Doc position was African-American/Black. These candidates also tend to graduate from and then go on to employment at more elite institutions. 6 in 10 of post docs came from institutions ranked in the first quintile of NRC-ranked institutions. 87% of Post-docs were placed at departments that grant PhDs.

In the 2017-18 Graduate Placement Report, we point to findings on the hiring process for post-doctoral positions in other disciplines within STEM, research that presents experimental evidence on factors contributing to demographic disparities between post-doctoral placements and the rest of the candidate pool, through the below processes:

“Researchers have noted, particularly in the natural sciences, the process of hiring post-doctoral positions has been shown to be less transparent, and less equitable, making it a bottleneck for improving diversity in disciplines as scholars move to more senior positions in the academe, a phenomenon known as the “leaky pipeline.” Women, minorities and people with disabilities are less likely to be offered post-doctoral positions in STEM disciplines in the natural sciences. Some researchers acknowledge they are less likely to even publicly post open post-doctoral positions, and rather rely on informal networks to fill open positions with new PhDs, while it is becoming an expectation that new PhDs work as post-docs for one or more years before seeking a permanent position in academia.”

For further exploration of these trends, please see our 2017-18 Graduate Placement Report and the literature cited within it, accessible on APSA Preprints.