Well-Being of Early-Career Researchers: Insights from a Swedish Survey

Abstract

Several studies have documented the importance of optimal work situation and the general well-being of early-career researchers (ECRs) for enhancing the academic performance of universities. Yet, most studies focused on specific categories of ECRs, or on specific academic disciplines as well as on specific outcomes. With this study, we recognize the need for a broader sample encompassing different categories of ECRs across academic disciplines. In a national survey of Swedish universities, the National Junior Faculty of Sweden (NJF) collected data from ECRs in order to study the influence of work situation and well-being on perceived scientific environment. We observed that work situation and well-being are interdependent and jointly influence each other in shaping the conditions for ideal scientific environment. Importantly, we employ structural equation model (SEM) analysis to account for the endogenous relationship between work situation and personal well-being in predicting perceived scientific environment. Results from SEM indicate that support from the university, work time management, job clarity, contract length and quality of life satisfaction were related to the perceived possibility of conducting the best science. Our research also highlighted individual differences across demographic factors and contract length in the perceived work situation and the possibility of conducting the best science.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful for help from the members of NJF (GU, LiU, LU, UmU, UU, KI) for preparing the survey and sending the link to the web survey at each local future/junior faculty, as well as for useful discussions in order to prepare the survey and discuss the interpretation of the results (GU, LiU, LU, UmU, UU, KI and ÖU). We would also like to thank the participation of the respondents to the web survey.

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Correspondence to Carine Signoret.

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All authors are representative at the National Junior Faculty of Sweden.

Appendices

Appendix 1

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Appendix 2: Mapping of Observed Variables into Constructs

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    Career path evaluation

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    Perceived quality of employment

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Signoret, C., Ng, E., Da Silva, S. et al. Well-Being of Early-Career Researchers: Insights from a Swedish Survey. High Educ Policy 32, 273–296 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-018-0080-1

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Keywords

  • early-career researchers
  • survey
  • academia
  • well-being
  • work situation
  • Sweden