The paper discusses the key characteristics of the career expectations of young scientists in the context of new prospects for the VUCA world defined by such a feature as instability. The possible consequences of events such as "black swans", which were difficult to predict and were rare events with significant consequences, are identified. The role of changes at the present stage of development is being actualized. The SPOD and VUCA concepts are considered. The SPOD world is characterized by stability, certainty, simplicity, predictability, while the VUCA world is characterized by instability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The reasons for the transition from one model to another are analyzed. The career features of scientists and researchers over a certain period of time are considered, a tendency to a decrease in the number of researchers in a number of scientific directions is revealed: the number of scientists in the natural and technical sciences decreases. There are analyzed data obtained during the study of the biographical trajectories of young scientists from different cities of Russia: Naberezhnye Chelny, Kazan, and St. Petersburg; materials illustrating one or another aspect are given. The features of building the research career of young scientists are revealed and assumptions are made about the differences in the conditions of various research environments: cities with a formed scientific environment and cities with an emerging research infrastructure.Keywords: young scientists, career expectations, biographical trajectories, VUCA-world, science.