Academic career progression from early career researcher to professor: what can we learn from job ads

Lilia Mantai*, Mauricio Marrone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
222 Downloads (Pure)


Academic careers are complex, diverse, and increasingly competitive. Building on previous research on selection criteria for admission to early research careers, this research expands the analytical focus to examine attributes requested in job ads at each stage of an academic career. Our data, extracted from a European job platform, draws on over 40 different disciplines, 3000 universities, and 60 countries. We developed a taxonomy from the selection criteria data and analysed 40,819 advertisements for all stages combined and posted in 2016-2021. We analysed the most prevalent and salient attributes listed in academic job ads to determine the most important attributes in the five most represented countries and disciplines, and changes by stage and across the academic career lifespan. We find that degree and achievements play a principal role in academic recruitment at each stage of career, mobility is key to progression in senior roles, teaching gains importance towards professoriate, and senior academics need to be equipped with skills and/or experience in fundraising, curriculum, and outreach. The insights inform policy and practice for institutional researcher development, capabilities framework development, human resources, and academic recruitment, and provide guidance for academic career planning and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-812
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number6
Early online date20 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Academic career
  • Europe
  • job
  • employment
  • selection criteria


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