In professor's rank, becoming associate from assistant means getting tenured.
Then, what is the difference between research associate and research assistant? PhD degree.
Additionally, the salary jumps up 2~4 times.
(Sorry, professors. You cannot make your salary doubled by the promotion to associate)
What am I doing as a research associate (aka Post Doc)? Almost the same as what I did as research assistant(aka graduate student), though a little difference on the attitude.
Why did I become a PostDoc?
Frankly speaking, it was because I couldn't get a job in academia.
(I haven't made an effort to get a job in industry. I am not sure how tough it would be)
I need some time to publish my papers.
I am hoping that after two years of PostDoc, I could be a strong candidate on academic job market.
It will be not only because my previous works will be published, but also because new research experience as a PostDoc will be a great value adding factor.
"Across all S&E fields and cohorts, 53%–56% of former postdocs said that their postdoc appointment enhanced their career opportunities to a "great extent"; an additional 33%–38% said that their postdoc appointment "somewhat" enhanced their career opportunities." - Science & Engineering Indicator 2010
I will enhance my career opportunity by about 90% of chance. Good for me!
Now, how many doctorate recipients become a Post Doc?
I couldn't find the specific data for OR area. But I could get the following information.
As OR is a part of mathematics, engineering and Computer science simultaneously, we will focus on Math., Eng. and CS.
Percentage of doctorate recipients : Post Doc
Click to enlarge the graph.
As you can see, the percentages are more than doubled in Math. Eng. and CS from 1982 to 2002. Now, a decade has passed from 2002. I guess it increased even more, thesedays.
Post Doc Salary
|Median salary of U.S. SEH doctorate holders in postdoc positions: 2008|
|Median salary ($)|
|Field of doctorate||Academic postdocs||Nonacademic postdocs||Nonpostdocs|
|Biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences||41,000||47,000||65,000|
S = suppressed for reasons of confidentiality and/or reliability
SEH = science, engineering, and health
NOTE: Salaries are rounded to nearest $1,000.
SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Doctorate Recipients (2008), http://sestat.nsf.gov.
Science and Engineering Indicators 2012
Compared to the salary of graduate assistant, it is more than doubled. However, still much less than non post doc's. As I remember, my salary is as much as the average salary of engineering undergraduate.
Ok for the single, but still not good for the married especially with kids.
More detailed information can be found the following link
The academic job market seems getting better last year and this year, again.
I cross my fingers hoping it will be even better next year.