FASEB just published a wonderful report, correlating data from all sorts of national surveys on Education and Employment of Biological and medical Scientists. There is a detailed Powerpoint presentation, with notes which detail data sources and contact information, as well as a one page summary of trends.
The most interesting finding, at least to me, is that the number of tenure (or tenure track) academically employed scientists has remained relatively unchanged for the last 20 years. But he number of doctorate degrees awarded during this time has doubled. Not surprisingly, industry is the fastest growing employment sector for biological and medical scientists. Where else would they go?
What this means, of course, is that there are many more highly educated scientists competing for the same positions. Those who chose not to go that route move into industry, and many of them move into nontraditional careers.
The good news is this means there are more chemists out there blazing the way, who can provide guidance and advice for those coming behind. The bad news, of course, is that there’s more competition for those postions. This means it’s ever more important to figure out exactly what you want to do, and why you’re good at it. That way you can find the job that’s just right for you, and will be able to explain to the company why you are a perfect fit.