Currently I am a 2nd year PhD student in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. My research interest lies in functional analysis, particularly Banach Space Theory.

I would like to know what are the chances to land a post doc in this field after my graduation and subsequently a tenure track position. If possible, I would like to have some statistical information to observe the trend.

I frequently visit (literally everyday) Mathjobs to get an overall idea on how many post doc positions available on analysis (no PDE, by the way). Unsurprisingly, it is not a lot.

I know that it is extremely difficult to land a post doc nowadays due to oversupply of PhD graduates (I assume most PhD graduates would like to stay in academia). However, I do not want to stuck at working post doc and cannot rise to tenure track. I think this defeats the purpose of doing a post doc, as it is an intermediate step of obtaining a tenure track position. If this is case, then I think it would be better to work elsewhere straightaway after graduation.

EDIT: Geographically speaking, I prefer working in developed countries such as USA, UK, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, etc.

  • I'm not in maths and I don't know your topic at all, but if there's any way you can give your profile an "applicative touch" that could help, as there's often more funding from industry and.government bodies for domains which are close to applications.
    – Erwan
    May 5, 2019 at 14:08
  • You should say something about where geographically you are willing to move to. Are you looking in East Asia, USA, Europe, ... ?
    – Yemon Choi
    May 5, 2019 at 14:13
  • @Yemon Choi preferably developed countries like USA, UK, Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, etc.
    – Idonknow
    May 5, 2019 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


Statistics won't help you here. Getting a job isn't a random selection process. Every candidate is different. Every position is different. The selection process is designed to match skills with requirements, even if it does so rather poorly. But on a purely statistical basis, assume that your chances are zero.

If you want a job as a math prof, independent of sub-field, write a lot of good papers. Learn to be a good instructor. Get some experience in advising others, etc. Then look for jobs that seem to match your skills and background. Become known in your sub-field and in the larger world of mathematicians (attend conferences, say). Use your advisor(s) to meet people elsewhere through introductions. Do some collaborative work with people elsewhere. Assure that your advisors are extremely happy with you and with your work so that you get marvelous letters of recommendation.

Expect that the process will be very competitive. You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. When 200 applications arrive for any position you want to have yours wind up in the short (explore further) pile rather than the tall (no interest) pile.

  • Actually I have a question since I started my PhD. How to collaborate with people elsewhere? Do I read some papers and suggest few future work in the hope of getting collaboration?
    – Idonknow
    May 5, 2019 at 12:26
  • Also, I have been in dilemma whether to priorize quantity or quality of my paper(s). For example, I foresee that I might be able to publish my PhD thesis in a reputable journal (journal of functional analysis). However, other professors in my department mention to me that I should publish more papers instead of just one high quality paper. I am in a lost now.
    – Idonknow
    May 5, 2019 at 12:29
  • 1
    To do collaborations you need to meet people. Lots of ways to do that. Your advisor can help, so can conferences, but so can suggesting it with someone whose interests overlap. Don't take the quantity v quality as an absolute. Try to find a happy medium. While working on the big impact research try to spin off smaller ideas that stand alone in some way.
    – Buffy
    May 5, 2019 at 12:31
  • Thanks for the suggestions. May I know what can I do so that I can wind up in short pile rather than tall pile?
    – Idonknow
    May 5, 2019 at 12:37
  • Pretty much everything I suggested, plus saying that effectively in any application.
    – Buffy
    May 5, 2019 at 12:40

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