Collectively, the US government is the largest single employer in America, filling approximately 1.6 million full-time, permanent positions; however, in reality, the US government consists of several hundred smaller employers, each of which has its own individual function and culture. As a result, the opportunities offered by government jobs are wide ranging, and the needs are diverse.
In the idealized career path, a scientist goes straight from earning an undergraduate degree to graduate school, and then on to a postdoc and eventual employment, without breaks between positions. For various reasons, however, not all scientists' career paths are nearly so linear.
The number of women embarking on science careers has been increasing steadily during the past several decades. Although women scientists continue to be underrepresented at the faculty level, many women have established rewarding and successful careers in science—thanks in part to having had role models and mentors whose paths they could follow.
After completing their graduate studies, many scientists have moved away from the bench and found rewarding careers in areas from grant administration to venture capital. While still making use of the training and skills gained during graduate school, these "alternative" careers are a better match for many.
You've reached a career milestone: managing your own lab. This recognition of your achievements attests to your hard work, attention to detail, commitment to a goal—and outstanding science. But be prepared. You're about to face challenges you may not have considered.
Numerous factors, large and small, come into play when one is deciding where to pursue a research career. Here, faculty members and deans size up their decision to work at a smaller institution and the issues that they face.
Every science-based company has a set of values or a mission statement. Many talk about respecting employees and valuing innovation—two key criteria in Science’s Top Employers Survey. But the top companies in Science’s survey ensure that these abstract principles are embodied in concrete ways.
The traditional path—graduate school to postdoc to academic tenure-track—is no longer a sure thing. How can you gain an edge in the increasingly competitive science profession? Start building your career plan.
Despite a wide range of initiatives to support women scientists in their careers, considerable barriers remain, as shown in a recent report by AAAS/L'Oréal. We examine what issues still need addressing in order to break down the remaining hurdles.