In May 2021, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a policy report on reducing the precarity of academic research careers. This report addresses precarity in research careers and emphasises the importance of making it a top science policy priority in the 38 OECD countries.
It also investigates the working conditions of early-career scientists, who face a shortage of permanent jobs, hence a lack of long-term prospects and job security. The report highlights that the doctorate level attainment is rising worldwide, which increases the competition for academic research positions. The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) notes in this report that universities mainly focus on preparing postdocs for academic careers and recommends them to train early-career researchers in gaining skills beyond fundamental research to encourage them in pursuing professional careers.
The report also explores the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on the precarity of academic research careers, resulting in more inequities and exposing more flaws in the academic organisational system.
The OECD’s report on reducing the precarity of academic research careers is the result of a project that started in September 2019, following an initiative launched during the 2018 OECD Global Science Forum (GSF). You can read the full report here.
In January 2021, Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) addressed academic precarity in a report. More details are available here.