In my experience as both a graduate student and a faculty member, there is very much discussion about obtaining an academic job and striving towards that goal. On the other hand, there is virtually no discussion about whether or not one should actually want to obtain an academic job, outside of occasional sour grapes from students for whom academic employment wasn't likely to be in the choice set.

When I advise students who are applying to PhD programs now (or are students in our own program), I make it a priority to give frank advice not only about the prospects of getting an academic job if you are coming from program X, but also about the pros and cons of the job.

In particular, what many graduate students fail to appreciate is that unless you are placing into either the top of the profession or a place with minimal research expectations, academia is by-and-large a miserable dead end with (1) minuscule opportunities for real growth and progression and (2) stress levels more commonly found in jobs that pay better by at least an order of magnitude.

We have an obligation to be more up front with students about this. Maybe some people are.

Unfortunately, there are huge incentives to be dishonest and push your students into academia.

I'm honest with my grad student advisees about what academia is like, and as a result, almost all of them go to non-academic jobs. Another prof in my department pushes his students to take really crappy academic jobs -- jobs far worse than most non-academic jobs. My former students are all much happier than his. But the dean thinks that other prof is a star, because so many of his students get academic jobs.

And when my department recruits prospective grad students, our competitor departments point out how many of my students take non-academic jobs, and say "You don't want to go there. Look at how many of their students can't get academic jobs." That's a lie. My students can (and do) get academic job offers, but they're bworse jobs than the nonacademic jobs those students wind up taking. And students from our competitor departments wind up going to really terrible academic jobs. They'd be much happier in non-academic jobs.

So why don't I start pushing my students into terrible academic jobs? If I did, I'd be better off, and my department would be better off. But I'd feel guilty doing it.