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New ResearchGate Study of 10,000 Global Scientists Reveals U.S. Still Top Choice for Academic Researchers

November 21, 2019 GMT


A new study of more than 10,000 international academic researchers by ResearchGate, the world’s leading professional network for scientists, has found that the US is the most attractive destination when relocating for an academic job. The United States and Canada were ranked as the most popular (65%) countries for relocation, followed by Germany/Austria/Switzerland (64%), with the UK only slightly trailing, appealing to 55% of respondents.

Globally, over 70% of respondents were open to moving abroad for the right academic research opportunity. However, researchers from the UK (54%) and the US (46%) demonstrated less interest in working abroad. This is significantly less interest than some of their Western European peers. For comparison, 67% of those from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, along with other Western European countries, reported willingness to relocate abroad for research work.

When asked what would most attract them to work abroad, salary (21%) and location (18%) were deciding factors, as well as whether the academic institution was a family-friendly employer (12%), by offering amenities like parental leave, onsite childcare, daycare stipend, or flexible hours. Interestingly, when asked what employment factors were the least important when deciding to apply for a new role, ease of getting a visa (16%) was ranked as the least significant consideration by international researchers. This suggests that despite the uncertain political climate around immigration, international researchers still consider the US a scientific powerhouse.

Mark Howard-Banks, Head of Scientific Recruitment Solutions at ResearchGate,says:

“Despite the confusion surrounding governmental funding for the sciences in the US, it’s clear that the global scientific community still considers the US as a potential homebase for conducting their research work. The US remains at the forefront of scientific discovery, and international scientists still rightfully regard the US as a leader in academic research. The US’s recent 2019 Nobel Prize wins, and the strong representation of US immigrants to the US among them, only highlight its continued prominence internationally. The fact that getting a visa is one of the least important factors when deciding to apply for international academic position perhaps shows that, for scientists and researchers, the quality of the opportunity to conduct research in the US far outweighs the logistics of moving there.”

The research also found that, generally, US researchers are satisfied with their pay. Respondents in the US reported earning more than their global peers, with over a fifth (21%) earning $60-90,000, and a further 10% sitting in the $90-120,000 bracket. Internationally, 41% of respondents said they earned less than $15,000, with another 22% sitting in the $15-30,000 bracket. These figures should, however, be considered in context, as 52% of global respondents are at a Ph.D. or postdoctoral career level.

Howard-Banks concludes:

“Compared to the private sector, academia is not known for high wages; but when you look at the pay disparity uncovered in our survey data, it’s no wonder that the US, UK, and Germany retain their appeal as popular research destinations. This is reinforced by the OECD’s report, which ranks the US, Germany, and the UK as the three countries with the highest global output of PhDs. In a competitive talent landscape, academic institutions in the US could in theory have their pick of the market. But, as a sector that traditionally recruits via word-of-mouth and career fairs, they would benefit from utilising new, digital recruitment tactics, lest they miss out on international research expertise. I’d urge US academic institutions to take heed — while salary, for example, is typically predetermined by one’s academic career level, there are other ways to appeal to researchers. Consider offering benefits that appeal to families, or the opportunity for one’s research to make an impact — academic institutions have the chance to attract the best and brightest if they can offer a full package for scientists and researchers.”


Research method

ResearchGate conducted an online survey of its 15+ million members in September 2019. The final survey sample of 10,035 validated international scientific researchers was collected and analysed in October 2019. Please find a top-level summary of the data here. For more information about the research study, please contact:

Notes to Editors

ResearchGate was founded in 2008 by two physicians, Dr. Ijad Madisch and Dr. Sören Hofmayer, and computer specialist Horst Fickenscher. The company’s mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all. 15+ million researchers, from 193 countries, have generated 220+ million research connections on the network, and share 500+ thousand updates about their research every day. ResearchGate has completed four rounds of financing from Benchmark, Founders Fund, Bill Gates, Tenaya Capital, Wellcome Trust, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, and Four Rivers Group. For more information about ResearchGate Scientific Recruitment Solutions, please visit www.researchgate.net

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SOURCE: ResearchGate

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PUB: 11/21/2019 09:00 AM/DISC: 11/21/2019 09:01 AM