Varieties of Academic Labor Markets in Europe
by Alexandre Afonso, (@alexandreafonso), Leiden University
How are academic job markets organized in European countries? This article provides a brief comparative overview of the functioning academic job markets in Europe, paying particular attention to the market for political scientists. The article emphasizes how the expansion of higher education access has led to a growing demand for teaching staff in European countries, but this growing demand has been mostly met by the expansion of fixed-term staff. In spite of these common developments, there are still striking differences in how jobs for academics are allocated. First, the article differentiates between countries where access for outsiders is constrained by formal and informal barriers to entry. Second, it differentiates between countries where permanent contracts are available to recent PhD graduates, and those where permanent positions are confined to the top of the academic hierarchy. While the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are open and have permanent jobs for recent PhD graduates, Germany is more closed to outsiders and the bulk of the academic workforce is on fixed-term contracts. Switzerland is open with few permanent jobs, while France, Italy and Spain provide permanent jobs but display many formal and informal barriers which restrict access for outsiders.