As a Ph.D. In one of the STEM fields (although some would argue the biological sciences fall outside of this umbrella) my own view of the job market is much less pessimistic than yours. That said I had almost zero interest in pursuing a career in academia post graduation. Even for STEM majors landing a tenure track research/teaching position at a university is extremely challenging. Fortunately for us positions in industry and government continue to be mostly abundant. Much like the humanities however there is an unspoken implication that a Ph.D. will virtually guarantee you a shot an an academic career if you so desire. Many students entering STEM graduate programs continue to operate under this flawed assumption. Moreover many young graduate students in these fields view that career path as their ultimate goal. For those who cannot accept the current reality they will graduate with a bunch of debt and almost no chance of pursuing the career they always thought they wanted. I don’t have the answer for how to change this but it needs to start at the bottom rung of the graduate program. Faculty and administrators who are responsible for admission decisions need to be honest with the young people they bring into their programs from day 1. Detailed statistics of exactly what jobs former graduates of each program actually were offered and accepted should be made available. Graduate student advisors and their major professors should also be empowered to communicate realistic expectations and given the tools they need to guide these expectations appropriately.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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