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PLoS One. 2014 Dec 10;9(12):e114736. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114736. eCollection 2014.

Biomedical Science Ph.D. Career Interest Patterns by Race/Ethnicity and Gender.

Author information

1
Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America; Science of Research and Technology Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
2
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
3
Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America.

Abstract

Increasing biomedical workforce diversity remains a persistent challenge. Recent reports have shown that biomedical sciences (BMS) graduate students become less interested in faculty careers as training progresses; however, it is unclear whether or how the career preferences of women and underrepresented minority (URM) scientists change in manners distinct from their better-represented peers. We report results from a survey of 1500 recent American BMS Ph.D. graduates (including 276 URMs) that examined career preferences over the course of their graduate training experiences. On average, scientists from all social backgrounds showed significantly decreased interest in faculty careers at research universities, and significantly increased interest in non-research careers at Ph.D. completion relative to entry. However, group differences emerged in overall levels of interest (at Ph.D. entry and completion), and the magnitude of change in interest in these careers. Multiple logistic regression showed that when controlling for career pathway interest at Ph.D. entry, first-author publication rate, faculty support, research self-efficacy, and graduate training experiences, differences in career pathway interest between social identity groups persisted. All groups were less likely than men from well-represented (WR) racial/ethnic backgrounds to report high interest in faculty careers at research-intensive universities (URM men: OR 0.60, 95% CI: 0.36-0.98, p = 0.04; WR women: OR: 0.64, 95% CI: 0.47-0.89, p = 0.008; URM women: OR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.30-0.71, p<0.001), and URM women were more likely than all other groups to report high interest in non-research careers (OR: 1.93, 95% CI: 1.28-2.90, p = 0.002). The persistence of disparities in the career interests of Ph.D. recipients suggests that a supply-side (or "pipeline") framing of biomedical workforce diversity challenges may limit the effectiveness of efforts to attract and retain the best and most diverse workforce. We propose incorporation of an ecological perspective of career development when considering strategies to enhance the biomedical workforce and professoriate through diversity.

PMID:
25493425
PMCID:
PMC4262437
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0114736
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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