, Volume 49, Issue 1-2, pp 135-154

European academic labor markets in transition

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Abstract

Even if convergences are to be observed among the orientations adopted by higher education policies in European countries, they still are characterized by strong national features. One of the most striking national patterns of each system is its academic labor market, salaries, status, recruitment procedures, workloads, career patterns, promotion rules, being very different from one country to another. Nevertheless, specific national academic labor markets are experiencing a common evolution that can be summed up by the emergence of more regulated internal labor markets. At the same time, the qualification of the academic production (knowledge) as a public good is questioned and academic activities rely less on individual autonomy than before. Two main transformations can be mentioned: the development of individual assessment and incentive devices in universities and the increasing role of higher education institutions in the issues previously in the domain of the academic profession. The paper relies on a limited number of cases and on empirical studies recently carried out in France and Germany. The evolution engaged in the two countries will be reviewed in order to show that they lead, in different ways, to more regulated ‘‘internal labor markets’’. It will also be argued that this is a general trend. In the last section, the implications linked to this evolution and the questions raised, the role of the academic profession, and the transformation of the status of scientific and pedagogical activities will be discussed.