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A new report from the National Postdoctoral Association, based on a fall survey of 366 postdocs, says that "widespread shortcomings in fundamental components of the postdoc position are causing significant negative effects on the professional and/or personal lives of postdocs." Postdocs said that they were most negatively affected by their salary (95 percent of respondents), lack of clarity of pathway to next position (90 percent), unclear definition of their time as a postdoc (87 percent), job security and position guarantees (87 percent) and decreased funding for their position (82 percent). Other sources of negative impact: lack of transparency of supervisor expectations (81 percent), lack of healthy workplace culture (71 percent), and, for international postdocs surveyed, additional vulnerabilities due to their international status (92 percent).

"Although salary, unclear duration of position, and additional vulnerabilities facing international postdocs show the highest levels of negative impact, all categories surveyed contain elements of significant concern requiring closer examination," the report says, encouraging institutions and funding agencies to work with the association toward change.