The tenure and the startup

How similar is a tenure to a startup? In a previous post, I discussed about the postgraduate factory. There are multiple studies at different level of detail indicating that the probability of landing into a tenured professor position is less than 30% or even 1%, depending on the scientific field. One such plot was compiled in 2010 by the Royal Society for the policy document “The Scientific Century – securing our future prosperity“.

Careers in and outside science (UK Royal Society 2010)
Careers in and outside science (UK Royal Society 2010)

As shown in the diagram, almost 80% of the PhD holders end in careers outside the science sooner or later. A mere 0.45% will land into a professor position!

However, this is not local to the UK. A similar trend was observed for biomedical sciences in the USA by 2012, as depicted in the diagram below.

Where will a biology PhD take you in the USA (Infographic by Jessica Polka, 2012)

These number is even worse than launching a high-tech startup, raise venture capital, and grow rich. In which of the two paths would you invest for your life? There is no right or wrong answer for this but one should be provided or seek real data for an informed decision.

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