News from Academic Careers Observatory: Job Market Survey reflects positive results for EUI members

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Alanna O'Malley, ACO

By Alanna O’Malley, Academic Careers Observatory, MWP

The Academic Careers Observatory of the Max Weber Programme is currently conducting a survey into the academic job market. Early career academics are often confronted with the same problems in attempting to enter the job market. The purpose of the survey is to ascertain exactly how EUI researchers and Fellows begin their careers. It examines the application process for academics at the beginning of their careers, with the aim of providing information on the transition process into the job market. The information will provide an impression of how EUI members use their qualifications to enter the job market and how successful they are.

So far there has been a very positive response rate from both the researchers and the Fellows originating from a range of different universities in both Europe and the United States. The majority of the responses have been received from those in the age group between 25 and 30 providing us with a solid sample group of young academics at the beginning of their careers.

Over 57% of the researchers surveyed cited the internet as their primary source of information on the job market, with supervisors and professors as the secondary source at 37%, and networking with colleagues providing information as a third source at 28%.

Almost 90% of the EUI researchers or Fellows surveyed have taken advantage of some form of formal preparation for the job market, whether it was the teaching skills workshops or mock interviews provided by the EUI or an outside source of academic job market training.

A majority of those surveyed indicated their desire to stay in academia with a preference overwhelmingly in favour of a university research position rather than a teaching job or consultancy work with an international organisation or another company in the private sector.

By a significant margin, researchers and Fellows cited geographical location as the most important factor in their selection of which jobs to apply for, with over 72% opting for positions in Northern and Western Europe. The United Kingdom emerged as the most popular location for job applicants from the EUI. Interestingly however, there was no clear consensus on whether or not those surveyed would like to return to their home country, with some researchers indicating a willingness to ‘give back’ to the societies that had paid their EUI grants and others viewing the option of returning as dependent on other factors.

In a rather optimistic forecast for EUI graduates, a majority of those surveyed have already had success on the international job market. Over 20% are in positions which will develop future research with a further 10% securing a tenure-track option.

The full survey results will shortly be published in a report. It will provide many new insights into the career prospects of EUI researchers and Fellows and give explicit advice from those with experience on the job market on how to make the best out of an EUI qualification.