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May 14, 2012
Do Industrial Post-Doc Positions Work?
A reader sends along this query, which I thought asked a very useful question:
". . .as a member of a growing biopharma company I am tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of industrial post-docs from both a business perspective and the post-doc's experience. Specifically, we are considering adding one for a short-term (2yr) to add headcount to a project. This adds resources without the long term commitment and also gives the scientists on site a chance for a paper they otherwise might not have time to work on. The candidate obviously gets a well-paid post-doc experience, and an industrial foot in the door. But, does this model work? I imagine that if it were that cut and dried you would see more of them."
Good point. Industrial post-docs are still relatively rare, although I've certainly seen a few. Come to think of it, though, those were mostly in biology, as opposed to chemistry. So, what do people think? From my end, I'd say that traditionally, companies have felt that temporary positions are best filled with experienced temporary employees, who presumably don't have to be trained as much. And if you're going to hire someone to learn the ropes, they might as well be good enough to be brought in as a full-time employee.
From the other end, an industrial post-doc has always been seen as less prestigious than an academic one, and there are some hiring managers who probably don't know what to think when one shows up on a c.v. There's often a feeling that if the person did a really good job during the post-doc that the company would have tried to offer them something permanent. And since they didn't, well. . .
Even so, it does seem as if there are situations where an industrial post-doc could be a good fit, and in today's job market, anything looks good. Anyone out there experienced this, from either end?
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