Did academic career requirements change in recent years?

In summary, there has been a significant change in the hiring process for academic positions in recent years. In the past, having research funding and publishing in high-impact journals like Nature or Science were seen as important factors for securing a faculty position. However, in more recent times, there has been a shift towards hiring candidates with a long track record of external funding and numerous publications in top journals. This change is due to the increasing number of PhD graduates and the demand for students to support research empires at universities. Ultimately, this has created an extreme buyer's market for academic positions.
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In the past it appeared that in some institutions, the very fact that a postdoc could get research funding on his/her own might have been the impetus for them to continue to hire his/her as a staff member. As much is stated in the PhysicsForums guide (https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/so-you-want-to-be-a-physicist.240792/page-2). I also heard that publishing as a first author in places like Nature or Science went a long way in securing some form of academic career at least somewhere.

Recently the only faculty hires I personally witnessed seemed to be on the order of 3d-rate universities attracting people with several years of uninterrupted external funding, bringing with them at least 300k+ in further external funding and having published 5+ papers in Science/Nature. The two faculty hires I saw a bit earlier in higher-rated universities were people with 5000+ citations and 10+ years of uninterrupted external funding.

Has the bar really risen that high recently? Or is it just a few coincidences in my personal experience?
 
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As a retired academic, I can speak to this, at least in part. There was a time when relatively few folks went as far as a PhD, and those that did usually intended to teach. There was a degree of balance between supply and demand.

In more recent times, with the progressive dumbing down of the whole educational process, it has become necessary to get an MS in order to have a good baccalaureate level education. In today's PC universities, just about anyone with a temperature above room temperature can get a BS, and thus the BS has been devalued. Similarly, those who once would have stopped at an MS are now going on to get PhD degrees, and there is a glut of PhD graduates. This is aggravated by the fact that universities have built up great research empires that demand more and more students, just to keep them afloat. This drives schools to admit more an more students, less qualified and foreign in particular, just to feed the machine. It is essentially a Ponzi scheme. I think it may soon come crashing down and PhD degrees will be sold in cigarette machines, at the corner drug store, etc.

In short, the supply far exceed the demand, and this makes for a buyer's market. In this case, an extreme buyer's market.
 
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1. What specific changes have occurred in academic career requirements in recent years?

There have been several changes in academic career requirements in recent years. Some of the most notable changes include an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary research, a growing demand for digital and technological skills, and a greater focus on diversity and inclusivity in hiring and promotion processes.

2. How have these changes impacted the job market for academic positions?

The changes in academic career requirements have had a significant impact on the job market for academic positions. As the requirements for academic positions have evolved, job seekers must adapt and acquire new skills in order to remain competitive. This has led to a more diverse pool of applicants and a higher demand for candidates who possess the necessary skills and qualifications.

3. Have the changes in academic career requirements affected tenure and promotion processes?

Yes, the changes in academic career requirements have also had an impact on tenure and promotion processes. With the increased emphasis on interdisciplinary research and digital skills, tenure and promotion committees are now looking for evidence of a candidate's ability to excel in these areas. Additionally, diversity and inclusivity have become important factors in tenure and promotion decisions.

4. Are there any new requirements for academic careers that have emerged in recent years?

Yes, there are several new requirements that have emerged in recent years for academic careers. One of the most notable is the demand for researchers to have strong data management and analysis skills. With the rise of big data and the importance of reproducible research, these skills have become essential for academic positions. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on public engagement and the ability to communicate research to a wider audience.

5. How can individuals stay updated on changes in academic career requirements?

To stay updated on changes in academic career requirements, individuals can attend conferences and workshops, network with colleagues, and regularly check job postings and requirements for academic positions. Additionally, staying informed about the latest trends and developments in their field can help individuals anticipate and prepare for potential changes in academic career requirements.

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