Question about the stats grad students/PhD job market


#1

Me and my boss are considering to applying for a local grant for using Bayes in bioinformatics (especially gene regulation), including hiring full-time PhD students and/or postdocs. However, I have zero experience with the job market and my boss has experience on the bio side of the market but not on the stats/data science/computer science side. We know that “local supply” is quite limited. Do you have some experience how hard it is to get international PhD students or postdocs in stats/data science/computer science?

We are located in Prague, Czech Republic (EU) and can offer around EUR 1000/month for a PhD student and EUR 1500 / month for postdocs. The living expense in Prague are IMHO slightly lower than other big cities in the EU (~ EUR 250 to rent a room, ~ EUR 550 to rent a small flat). Would you expect us to have trouble attracting international candidates? (Obviously, if we receive the funding and then are unable to hire good people, we are in trouble :-)

Thanks for any ideas/experiences.


#2

You mean hiring the students or postdocs in the regular way and this is the topic they work on? Then you’d know better than we would how that goes where you’re at.

Or are you going to be trying to hire someone else’s Ph.D. students or postdocs? Usually, they’re pretty busy other than over summers, where they typically can get very sweet internships at places like Google (more than they can make as postdocs in the U.S.).

The job market for people who can do stats and computer science has gotten to the point that it’s very hard to attract people to university jobs anywhere at the rates universities let us pay. We’ve been trying to hire postdocs for several multiples of what you’re trying to pay and still finding it difficult with the industrial competition.


#3

We do get international students and postdocs to Finland, and usually the salary is not the first thing they ask. I guess those who come have a specific reason or assume that salary is similar as in their own countries. For comparison, in Aalto we would pay around 2500EUR/month for a PhD student and around 3600EUR/month for a postdoc (plus occupational healthcare). These are less than what you could in companies. The living expenses are bit higher but public healthcare system is practically free and it’s a good place to raise kids.

I hope you find someone.


#4

Thanks for the insights, I was kind of suspecting it was going to be difficult. The salary is unfortunately capped by this grant opportunity and so it seems that hoping to hire good people with this amount of money would be a risky proposition. We’ll consider going a different way about this.

@avehtari - the free healthcare is a good point, would never occur to me to advertise this as a job perk (our health care is also 99% free). Easy to forget this is not a standard thing around the world.


#5

Tax rates, cost of living, and quality/desirability of living, also vary dramatically. So it’s very hard to compare. The NY Times just did a profile on how happy people in Finland are; these happiness indexes (like livability indexes) always wind up with different cities or countries on top. Maybe they’ll do Prague next! But as I recall Andrew saying when I asked him what “happiness” meant to a social scientist, he replied a 1-5 response on a survey question.

When I was hired to work with Andrew, the pay was low U.S. postdoc rates, but I took the job anyway at a huge pay cut from my industry job for the learning opportunity and because I wanted a chance to work with Andrew. So salary isn’t always a dealbreaker if there are other benefits.


#6

You could try posting on the UK “allstat” mailing list (it has a pretty wide reach), see here:

https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=ALLSTAT

You could also post to the Aus/NZ stats mailing list (perhaps someone will want to have a European working OE), see here:

http://www.maths.uq.edu.au/research/research_centres/anzstat/