Impact evaluation of the Max Weber Programme in the Academic Job Market

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Alanna O'Malley, ACO

Alanna O’Malley, Research Assistant, Academic Careers Observatory

Impact evaluation of the Max Weber Programme in the Academic Job Market

By Alanna O’Malley, Academic Careers Observatory


From November 2012-May 2013, the Academic Careers Observatory (ACO) of the Max Weber Programme (MWP) carried out research on the career progression of former Max Weber Fellows (MWF) and non-Fellows, i.e. those who applied to the programme and either proved unsuccessful in their application or who declined the Fellowship. The central aim of this research was to assess whether or not the MWP has an impact on the academic labour market.

Information was collected on 481 post-doctoral academics, divided between former Fellows of the MWP and non-Fellows. This data pertained to the career progression and current job positions of the participants. The information on both groups was gathered from the application materials that were supplied to the MWP, and the internet search-engine Google, which was used to trace non-Fellows in particular. The results were stratified with the utilisation of various indicators including gender, occupational mobility and geographical mobility.

The results reflected some consistencies across these indicators. Nationality proved to be a strong determinant for career progression in different regions. The majority of MWF proceeded to gain academic positions in Europe (whereas among non-Fellows who applied to the programme from the United States, a high percentage were successful on the academic job market in North America). The gender indicator also produced interesting results, with women among both Fellows and non-Fellows proving to be less visible on the academic job market regardless of participation in the programme.

It was proven that the MWP does indeed have an impact in the academic labour market. The probability of securing and maintaining an academic job and of career progression in academia is higher following participation in the programme. This indicates that the programme trains and prepares Fellows very well for the job market, as revealed by their strong performance.

The report was compiled with the collaboration of Max Weber Fellows Janine Christine Balter and Olena Senyuta, and with the external collaboration of Cristina Cirillo from the University of Florence.