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Employment in Academia: To What Extent Are Recent Doctoral Graduates of Various Fields of Study Obtaining Permanent Versus Temporary Academic Jobs in Canada?

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While most doctoral students aspire to become a full-time professor, many graduates with doctoral degrees may instead be employed in temporary positions as university teachers or researchers. The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which these early employment experiences differ for doctoral graduates of various fields of study, using Canada as a case study. Drawing on Statistics Canada’s 2013 National Graduates Survey, our results reveal that doctoral graduates of most fields, especially those with degrees in the sciences, arts, and humanities, are more likely to be in temporary forms of academic employment than they are as full-time professors, 3-to-4 years after graduation. The findings highlight the labor market realities facing doctoral graduates in the Canadian academic labor market. They should also be very informative to researchers and policy analysts in other countries where doctoral graduates experience similar challenges navigating academic job markets.

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Correspondence to David Walters.

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See Table 4.

Table 4 Multinomial logistic regression predicting whether respondents are employed as full-time professors/researchers, or temporary professors/researchers.

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Walters, D., Zarifa, D. & Etmanski, B. Employment in Academia: To What Extent Are Recent Doctoral Graduates of Various Fields of Study Obtaining Permanent Versus Temporary Academic Jobs in Canada?. High Educ Policy (2020).

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  • doctorates
  • field of study
  • labour market outcomes
  • employment
  • Canada
  • National Graduates Survey