The Effect of COVID-19 on the Postdoctoral Experience: a comparison of pre-pandemic and pandemic surveys





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In the interest of advocating for the postdoctoral community in the United States, we present results from survey data collected before and during the COVID-19 pandemic on the same population of postdocs. In 2019, 5,929 postdocs in the US completed a comprehensive survey, and in 2020, a subset completed a follow-up survey several months into the pandemic. The results show that the pandemic has substantially impacted postdocs’ mental health and wellness irrespective of gender, race, citizenship, or other identities. Postdocs also reported a significant impact on their career trajectories and progression, reduced confidence in achieving career goals, and negative perceptions of the job market compared to pre-COVID-19. International postdocs also reported experiencing distinct stressors due to the changes in immigration policy. Notably, having access to Postdoctoral Associations and Postdoctoral Offices positively impacted postdocs’ overall well-being and helped mitigate the personal and professional stresses and career uncertainties caused by the pandemic.