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What do scientists want from their next job? We surveyed 10,000 academic researchers to find out

As the world’s largest professional network of scientific researchers, ResearchGate is in the unique position to directly ask its members what they need from the academic job market — in order to help people like you, who have scientific hiring needs, better understand your target audience of potential academic research job candidates.

About our survey

In September 2019, ResearchGate conducted an online survey of its +15-million members. Within two weeks, we reached a survey sample of 10,035 validated international scientific researchers — a testament to the high level of engagement and activity among the ResearchGate digital network. In October 2019, we analyzed the collected data. You can download the full scientific recruitment report here, which includes exclusive insights into the needs of the global academic research community. 

In this report, you can access information about regional and international hiring, the most important factors for researchers when considering where to apply next, what scientists want from their next academic employer, as well as reported salary satisfaction and market-rate compensation for researchers by career level and region.

Do you need to attract and recruit top scientific research talent to work for your organization? ResearchGate Scientific Recruitment Solutions can help you.

Some of our findings

For instance, the United States, despite political uncertainty around immigration and proposed funding cuts to the sciences, is the most attractive destination when relocating internationally for an academic job. Overall, the US and Canada were ranked as the most popular countries for relocation, followed closely by several European countries. This is reinforced by the OECD’s report, which ranks the US, Germany, and the UK as the three countries with the highest global output of PhDs. 

In a competitive talent landscape, academic institutions in top-ranked countries could, in theory, have their pick of the market. But as a sector that traditionally recruits via word-of-mouth and career fairs, they would benefit from utilizing new, digital recruitment tactics, lest they miss out on international research expertise. Globally, the majority of respondents indicated that they were open to moving abroad for the right academic research opportunity. This suggests the importance of casting a wide net when hiring scientists, as they have an international outlook and are willing to relocate for the right professional opportunity. 

While internal hiring and word-of-mouth recruitment have their place, it is clear that an over-reliance on these methods closes off vacancies to a huge pool of ready-and-willing talent from elsewhere in the world. Placing less emphasis on internal hiring and word-of-mouth, while making greater use of digital channels, can help ensure vacancies are seen by the widest possible geographic spread of candidates.

Digital recruitment and employer branding can help you hire top international talent. Learn more about how ResearchGate Scientific Recruitment Solutions can help.

Salary versus science

When asked what would most attract them to work abroad, the salary offered by an organization was surely a consideration — but not as important as one might assume. The opportunity to work in an area of particular interest to one’s scientific field is also a strong driver, suggesting the need for universities to highlight their research output via creative digital storytelling. This might include focusing on what makes your organization particularly attractive to potential academic job candidates, like spotlighting recent scientific achievements or showcasing unique technical equipment. 

To ramp up your academic hiring strategy, read the full scientific recruitment report to learn more about what the global scientific community has to say about the academic job market today. 

Do you want to build the best performing teams in science? ResearchGate’s Scientific Recruitment solutions will unlock your access to the world’s largest professional network of 15+ million active scientific researchers.    

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