Career Satisfaction and Perceived Salary Competitiveness among Individuals Who Completed Postdoctoral Research Training in Cancer Prevention.

Author(s): Faupel-Badger JM,  Nelson DE,  Izmirlian G

Journal: PLoS One

Date: 2017

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BRG, OD

PubMed ID: 28121985

PMC ID: PMC5266270

Abstract: Studies examining career satisfaction of biomedical scientists are limited, especially in the context of prior postdoctoral training. Here we focused on career satisfaction defined as satisfaction with one's career trajectory and perceived salary competitiveness among a predominantly Ph.D.-trained population of scientists who completed cancer prevention-related postdoctoral training between 1987-2011. National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) alumni (n = 114), and previous recipients of NCI-sponsored Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA/F32) postdoctoral fellowships (n = 140) completed online surveys. Associations of career satisfaction and perception of salary competitiveness with demographic, training, and employment-related factors were examined using logistic regression. Overall, 61% reported high levels of satisfaction with their career trajectory to-date. Higher salary (odds ratio [OR] = 2.86, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.07-7.69) and having more leadership roles (OR = 2.26, 95% CI:1.04-4.90) were independently associated with higher career satisfaction. Persons with race/ethnicity other than white (OR = 0.40, 95% CI: 0.20-0.82) or age ≥ 50 (OR = 0.40, 95%CI: 0.17-0.94) had lower career satisfaction levels. There were no statistically significant differences in career satisfaction levels by gender, scientific discipline, or employment sector. 74% perceived their current salary as competitive, but persons with 5-9, or ≥10 years in their current position reported lower levels (OR = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.15-0.65; and OR = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.16-0.87, respectively), as did individuals in government positions (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.11-0.98). These data add to the understanding of career satisfaction of those with advanced training in biomedical research by examining these measures in relation to prior postdoctoral research training and across multiple career sectors.