Chronicle of Higher Education – Canadian Postdocs Need Better Pay, Benefits, and Training, Report Says

Like their peers down south, Canadian postdoctoral students are facing a tough job environment. The results of a new national survey released on Wednesday say they are in “dire need” of more pay, improved benefits, and better career training.

Two-thirds of Canadian postdocs earn less than $44,000, many of them without access to health and unemployment insurance or pension contributions, according to the survey, which drew responses from more than 1,800 early-career researchers. The survey was conducted by the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars and Mitacs, a nonprofit organization that promotes industry-university research and training.

More than eight in 10 postdoctoral students aspire to careers in academe, but there are few job openings, according to the survey. Compounding the bleak academic-employment picture is the lack of formal or informal training in specific skills, such as project management, intellectual property, and writing skills, that would equip young researchers for jobs outside of universities.

“Postdocs would like to be treated as employees, and to receive benefits and compensation commensurate with their work and experience,” conclude the authors of a report on the survey. They called on the government, industry, and universities to support young researchers with “appropriate and relevant career-development opportunities.”