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Varieties of Academic Labor Markets in Europe

Afonso, Alexandre

PS, Political Science & Politics, Oct 2016, Vol.49(4), pp.816-821 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Varieties of Academic Labor Markets in Europe
  • Author: Afonso, Alexandre
  • Description: The most notable development in the structure of academic employment in the United States over the last 40 years has arguably been the increase in contingent employment. According to data from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), tenure-track and tenured faculty taken together represented only 26.9% of all instructional staff in 2013, while full-time non-tenure track (e.g. visiting assistant professors) and part-time staff (adjuncts) accounted for 61% (Barnshaw and Dunietz 2015, 13). Between 1975 and 2013, the growth in the number of academics working off the tenure-track has outpaced the growth of "regular" faculty by a ratio of nearly ten to one (AAUP 2013). In many ways, similar developments have taken place in Europe. In spite of important differences in access, job security, and career paths across countries (Musselin 2005; 2009), a movement of casualization has taken place, and fixed-term employment has generally grown at a much faster pace than permanent employment. For instance, the corresponding developments in France look similar to the United States. While the number of professors increased by 38% between 1992 and 2013, the number of non-permanent instructional staff increased by 82% during the same period (Ministère de l'Education Nationale 2015). In the Netherlands, the share of fixed-term employment among academic staff increased from 37% to 42% between 2007 and 2014, and from 22% to 32% for entry-level positions (equivalent to assistant professor) (VSNU 2015). However, institutional differences have clearly mediated the way academic employment systems have adapted to these developments, and prospects in terms of job security for both local and international entrants are fairly different across countries. This article provides a brief overview of regimes of academic employment in a number of (West) European countries, using a typology based on two dimensions: the extent to which they are open to PhD graduates from other countries, and the availability of tenure-track mechanisms of career advancement. It also provides information on career paths and salaries while briefly reviewing individual countries. The article pays particular attention to the labor market for political scientists, but the data used is often only available at more aggregate levels. In general, the characteristics of national labor markets outlined here apply across disciplines. The specificities of job markets for political scientists are mentioned when applicable.
  • Is Part Of: PS, Political Science & Politics, Oct 2016, Vol.49(4), pp.816-821
  • Identifier: ISSN: 10490965 ; E-ISSN: 15375935 ; DOI: 10.1017/S1049096516001505
  • Subjects: Europe ; Employment ; Political Science ; Academic Careers ; Labor Market ; Higher Education ; Students ; Employment Security ; Careers ; Labor Market ; Coffee ; Tenure ; Political Science ; Social Sciences ; Employment ; Academic Discipline; Professional Issues (Teaching, Academic Careers) ; Political Economy; Political Economy ; El Pais ; Guardian ; Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development ; Eurostat ; European Union
  • Language: English

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