I have a question relative to career progression for bioinformatics staff. If you feel that your company, school, or institution does a good job of recruiting and retaining such staff I would like to hear your opinion. What types of job titles are being advertised to attract candidates ? To whom do they report ? I'm mainly concerned with staff who might not necessarily have a PhD (though could) who are actively contributing to research and tool development in support of funded work. This could include programmers, biologists, database administrators, and computational bio/statisticians (and others).
Some institutions recognize the need for retaining such people and have developed a career arc for them. And then there are institutions that view bioinformatics staff simply as replaceable personnel once the funding for a project expires. Anyway, please let me know your thoughts especially if you think you have or know of a good reference model that does this well. Obviously this will vary with the organization and research universities will generally be more reliant upon external funding.
Let me add some additional perspective. We have problems attracting and retaining bioinformatics personnel because HR tends to want to map bioinformatics positions onto existing job titles that really don't capture the essence of the job mostly because it's easier for them to do that than it is to open a new position title. I've generated a number of job descriptions for my HR department which I think accurately represents what various bioinformatics positions would do as well as what pay grades might be appropriate. I have pointed them to links at other institutions and discussed with them why those titles and reporting structures are more appropriate than say reusing an existing IT analyst title. It's moving along but I have the impression that I'm not the first person to encounter this problem hence my question.
It can be difficult, as a university and especially a department resource, to compete with industry or pharma where pay is typically higher and the trajectory is more defined though obviously people are interested in university jobs. Oh and a couple of more things. I've previously operated a Core facility previously which is a very typical way for universities to concentrate bioinformatics personnel under a particular service umbrella. So I'm not going into this "cold" as I do have ideas about appropriate titles and reporting structures but it's been a few years since I've had to deal with this topic. I'm prepared for the idea that not much has changed but one never knows. There is also the added complexity of finding funding for bioi-informatics personnel even if there is a Core facility since they usually have to write themselves onto grants which signals, rightly or wrongly, to HR that such personnel are "temporary" and "replaceable" which might mean that they don't want to put alot of effort into correctly classifying bioinformatics personnel. In cases where the money is so called "hard money" then the situation is better even though HR still might want to classify a highly skilled bioinformatics person as an "Information Analyst 3" or "Data Manager 2".