I have observed a new trend in the academic life. I think it is something worthwhile discussing.

Many postdocs choose to leave American and European positions and pursue appointments in Asia, and more specifically China, Japan and South Korea. Not just fresh PhDs who are looking for their first postdoc positions, but also more experienced people more towards the tenure-track levels.

My question is: why is that?

Does it have to do with the salaries? Does it have to do with a better financial situation in South Korea, China and Japan compared to U.S and Europe? Is it related to the fact that postdoc positions are much scarcer in the Western World? Or maybe better work hours and environment? Is it related to the existing industries and job opportunitites outside academia?

I have never lived or worked in Asia, and thus, any input would be very helpful.

  • 6
    "Many postdocs choose to leave American and European positions and pursue appointments in Asia." Hmm, where in Asia? Novosibirsk, Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Ankara, Kabul, Bangkok? About fourty percent of the world's population live in Asia, so it might be advisable to be a bit more specific. ;-) Oct 9, 2021 at 22:00
  • 1
    @JochenGlueck that's a good point. Thanks for pointing out. I edited the post.
    – user147916
    Oct 9, 2021 at 23:11
  • 6
    I think everyone makes their own choices. Still, I believe that "a new trend in academic life" is a very broad term. Are you referring to a field in particular? And how many "postdocs" are we (you) talking about?
    – P. Shark
    Oct 9, 2021 at 23:32
  • Actually it is not just PhDs and post-docs. One of my former professors left his position as a fully tenured professor at a top North American univesity to take a position at an Asian university.
    – emory
    Oct 10, 2021 at 23:28
  • 1
    If that effect exists, I would assume it has more to do with people in general getting more mobile / internationally focused, and less with Asia specifically. Basically, more young people want to see the world, and doing a postdoc further abroad is a good opportunity to do so.
    – xLeitix
    Oct 11, 2021 at 9:38


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