I've just finished my PhD in Genetics, and I am looking at moving into industry, as a scientist.

"Senior Scientist" seems to be the closest match, because the salary is slightly higher than a junior post-doc.

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    In some fields, it's called a "postdoc". – JeffE Oct 5 '14 at 23:00

I am not sure how much sense this question makes, given that no position in a research lab is really comparable to a postdoc position.

That being said, I have seen the term "research staff member", or just "researcher" or "scientist" being used a lot as an entry-level, permanent position in a research lab which requires a PhD. "Senior scientist" or "senior researcher" is typically a bit more advanced ("researchers" become "senior researchers" through regular career progression). However, concrete names of course vary between companies, so you should never assume much of anything about a position purely based on its name.

"Senior Scientist" seems to be the closest match, because the salary is slightly higher than a junior post-doc.

That's a very bad heuristic. Too many other factors influence salary for it to be of any worth for judging the level of a position.


Some companies, including the one that I work at, actually do offer positions that are explicitly postdocs and fill the same type of role as postdocs in academia: a limited-term position connected to some specific set of projects/responsibilities, with the expectation that the person will move up or move elsewhere at the end of the period.

Beyond that, industry titles tell you nothing, because there is nothing even vaguely like a standard. Where I work, "senior scientist" is approximately equivalent to "associate professor" in academia. At a smaller company I know of, it means "has a master's degree." At yet another company, it might mean "has been here for 30 years." You just don't know.

Instead, look at the background required and responsibilities associated with the job, and see if they match what you have to offer. Beware that position postings are often the result of a mangled committee process, and if it calls for a long laundry list of skills, you're probably in good shape to apply if you have at least a couple of them.

Salary may also vary wildly, depending on the sector of industry and particular company, but as a rule of thumb it should be well above what you would be paid as a postdoc in academia. In computer science, for example, a Ph.D. entry-level position in industry gets somewhere between 1.5x and 4x a typical postdoc salary (it's one of the compensations of stepping off the traditional track). Sites like Glassdoor are a good way to tell whether you are being made a fair offer or not.

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