A scientific career is associated with great uncertainties and risks. This is mainly due to the employment conditions for post-docs within academia, which in the vast majority of cases are temporary non-tenured positions. This uncertainty phase often leads to chains of temporary positions and a creeping drop-out from science. This phase bears a risk of cooling-out, insofar the interest on a scientific career decreases and/or other life goals like family or safety become more important.
On the other hand, most of the graduates know from the beginning of the doctorate which conditions a scientific career implies (Waaijer 2016). The conditions might already be priced in. In addition, there is a considerable proportion of graduate students who do not intend to stay in science and only want to use the doctor to keep or improve their opportunities on the non-academic labor market. In some subject-fields (chemistry, biology) the PhD has a significant non-academic value (dual-use character).
In the case of those who remain (after the doctorate) in science, they are by no means all planning a scientific career. There are various types of researchers of science (Rogge 2015), of which not all are seriously pursuing the goal of a scientific career. Thus, career intentions of young scientists become a decisive variable when it comes to examine and evaluating career perspectives.
The question is whether and to what extent the employment conditions have an impact on the career intentions of young researchers. And to what degree they are determined by other factors. Similarly: Which circumstances lead young researchers to leave the scientific system and to keep away from former scientific career plans? This article provides an overview of the employment situation of junior academics in the post-doc phase and shed light on its impact on their career plans.
Auriol, Laudeline, Max Misu, and Rebecca A. Freeman. 2013. Careers of Doctorate Holders: Analysis of Labour Market and Mobility Indicators. Hauss, Kalle, Marc Kaulisch, Manuela Zinnbauer, Jakob Tesch, Anna Fräßdorf, Sibylle Hinze, and Stefan Hornbostel. 2012. Promovierende im Profil: Wege, Strukturen und Rahmenbedingungen von Promotionen in Deutschland. Ergebnisse aus dem Profile-Promovierendenpanel, Berlin. Lange, J., Lietz, A., Ambrasat, J., Tesch, J., & Wegner, A. (2016). The German Doctoral Candidates and Doctorate Holders Study ProFile. Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik / Journal of Economics and Statistics. De Gruyter Oldenbourg. Open Access, Online First (ahead of print). Neufeld, J., & Johann, D. (2016). Wissenschaftlerbefragung 2016 - Methodenbeschreibung und Fragebogen. Hannover/Berlin: DZHW. http://www.forschungsinfo.de/Publikationen/Download/DZHW_WB_2016_Methoden-v1.pdf Rogge, Jan-Christoph (2015): "The Winner Takes It All? Die Zukunftsperspektiven des wissenschaftlichen Mittelbaus auf dem akademischen Quasi-Markt". In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Jg. 67, H. 4, S. 685-707. Waaijer, C. 2016. Perceived career prospects and their influence on the sector of employment of recent PhD graduates, Science and Public Policy, 1–12.
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