I’m a graduating Ph.D. in a STEM field and I have decided not to continue in academia. The prospect of a life-long low wage doesn’t appeal to me after four years living on a meager stipend.
I had two interviews so far and the questions always came: “Why not a postdoc?” or “Why not continue in academia?” Can I answer I'm leaving because academic salaries aren't high enough for my expectations? Or should I simply say that I feel my skill set would be better put to use outside academia? This is the answer I have given so far, leaving the salary bit out.
I’m afraid that I may sound greedy if I mention the salary so early in the hiring process. Or that I may come across as a hiree who expects to be fast-tracked to a high salary position. Of course, those aren’t my expectations. My expectation is to be paid what is reasonable for the job.