Dear all, I genuinely cannot fathom a reason why most universities have a strict policy against hiring postdocs with five or more years of postdoctoral research experience. Could somebody please elaborate? I cannot imagine anybody benefiting from this arrangement. 1. Universities and professors lose. They need cheap highly qualified labour. A postdoc with five years of experience will likely be much more productive than a freshly minted PhD graduate. Low pay or job insecurity would not be a deterrent to many highly qualified experienced postdocs. 2. Postdocs lose. I would be happy to remain a life-long postdoc. I enjoy research and find postdoctoral salary and job security sufficient. I am unlikely to succeed becoming a professor, and even if I did I would find administrative duties less rewarding than pure research. Many of my friends feel the same. 3. PhD graduates lose. Sure, if universities started hiring postdocs with more than five years of work experience in addition to postdocs with less than five years of work experience, it would mean increased competition for postdoctoral positions. Overall however it would be a good thing for PhD graduates, since most of them would be forced to look into alternative careers and eventually find a good job. As it stands now, half of PhD graduates continue as postdocs only to find out that in five years nobody will hire them (academia will not hire them because of this strange policy; non-academic PhD-friendly employers usually hire straight after PhD and see postdoctoral experience as a strong disadvantage). To be fair, in theory universities are allowed to hire experienced postdocs as research assistants or research associates, but in practice it rarely happens. As a result everybody seems to lose. Why?