Industry or postdoc?

Hi all, I’m looking for some career advice regarding the peculiar situation I find myself in. I am well aware that it is super personal but am interested in some ideas/povs that I am overlooking.

TLDR; postdoc considering moving to industry when moving back to home country but skills picked up during PhD/postdoc are not relevant for industry R&D. Continue dping a postdoc and pick up skills or give up altogether (not really but you know ..)

Here goes: I am currently a postdoc and well aware of the ‘postdoc trap’ scenario, as well as biases in favour of going to industry etc. However, the situation I currently find myself in is rather peculiar so if possible I’d like some people to weigh in with their two cents.

I obtained my PhD in a different country than the one where I’m originally from, and I have been doing a postdoc in that country ever since (not overly long). Due to personal circumstances, I have now decided to -temporarily- go back to my home country for some time. Unfortunately, there are no companies in my home country that specialize in the field of research I performed – and love – during my PhD/postdoc. However, a postdoc position opened up at a university in my home country that exactly uses my background, and expands upon it with techniques that I currently don’t have under my belt that could allow a move to industry R&D later on (both in native and other countries).

Thus, I am seriously considering what to do next. I love doing and managing research, and both academia and industry grant you that opportunity. However, experience taught me that I won’t be hired in the capacity of R&D researcher in a company because the skills I obtained during my academic research career hold no direct merit for these them. Alternatively, the postdoc would allow me to do exactly that, but then I may be stuck in academia with very low chances (but not impossible in my home country) of actually progressing further down that route – leading to me having to go to industry regardless albeit with some extra skills that are in fact applicable in R&D. I’m turning 30 this year and would thus prefer not to waste time anymore.

The industry options I’ve looked into are finding a position through a consulting agency (they generally offer MSAT, QA/QC roles – none of which I am too thrilled about) and trying to find a job as a project manager or technical support/field application scientist (all in companies with different expertise than me but at least it would be an industry position).

Two final curveballs: 1) I don’t necessarily plan to stay in my home country for the rest of my life; 2) the postdoc position would pay better than any of the jobs in industry.

I would be enormously grateful if people could share some of their insights as I may be overlooking some very obvious possibilities.


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