I see a lot of jobs at local Universities related to research. They pay peanuts, like 40k or maybe top 50k (less than similar government jobs and gov jobs don't even pay that much), but the jobs are interesting in that it's hard to find research jobs in general. Just curious, who are these jobs geared for? Aspiring PHDs? Recent graduates from undergrad? Or is research such a easy job that anyone can do them and that's why the pay is so low.

I wish I could do them but it seems to be too late for me to do so.

  • The best source of info is the job post/board helpdesk. Oct 1, 2020 at 5:15
  • @DarkCygnus right what's the point of a community forum because it's like i can just totally find their email/phone number and ask them...because every recruiter and hiring manager are super easy to reach
    – confused
    Oct 1, 2020 at 5:23
  • @confused included an answer for you to consider based in my reasoning and also in my past experience
    – DarkCygnus
    Oct 1, 2020 at 5:29
  • Those jobs are offered to those capable of doing them. If they want to apply, then they do.
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 1, 2020 at 6:00
  • 1
    Research is not an easy job. But, the rule is: the more fun a job is, the less one can afford to pay to those who do it. If a job is boring, but requires highly skilled people, you have to pay a lot for them to take this, because they can choose. When academia is ultimately fun, that's why they can afford to pay less. As more academic institutions are actually making academics' life increasingly harder and micromanaged, we indeed see an exodus of academics into more exciting (and better-paying, to boot) industry. Oct 1, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


Most research posts are aimed at people who have recently graduated with a PhD. They are low paid because there is limited funding, and lots of candidates who want to do it. Supply and demand means that even highly qualified jobs can be low paid if there is an excess of candidates.

These jobs are often a precursor to a long term teaching role at university. So anyone willing to do this can hope to get a long term very secure job (albeit still at low pay when compared with industry).


who are these jobs geared for?

The real answer is only known by the ones posting such job offers, so you will have to reach out and ask them who are they intended to, or what kind of applicants they seek.

Alternatively, any decent job posting should indicate the kind of applicant they seek and the skills or qualifications they expect on candidates.

However, the fact that they are posted in University Campus already hint to us that they are intended for Students or people that frequent the University. That is, graduates, undergrads, PHD students, etc..

IIRC, when I was at Uni I saw similar job posting on a big board on my faculty, where job offers were pinned or taped onto. You say the pay is low, and yes I do recall the pay was low.

In part because they were intended (I guess) to help students make some extra income while still taking their courses and their regular jobs (in other words, part time or a few hours a day)... But also due to the fact that those "research" jobs offered were more about physical or repetitive tasks the usual research involves (checking on the Petri dishes, passing tests to study subjects, etc.). So, it's "research" but you were not actually doing the PHD-level analysis or the complex modelling the actual research involved.

At least those were the "research" job offers I recall were offered in my Uni and posted on such boards.

  • 1
    It can't be for undergrads because they are full time positions. Jobs are like research assistant, research associate,
    – confused
    Oct 1, 2020 at 5:30
  • 1
    @confused then there is your answer, scratch undergrads if a job says "full time" :)... furthermore, the job posting indicates what are they intended for as you can already hint from the title.... Giving them a call or contacting them will yield more accurate answers than the possible speculations you might get here. Each job posting will have different intended targets
    – DarkCygnus
    Oct 1, 2020 at 5:40

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