Career and Self-Understanding of Academics in Germany in Comparative Perspective

  • Ester Ava Höhle
  • Ulrich TeichlerEmail author
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 16)


The academic profession in Germany is widely viewed – in comparative perspective - as being fairly heterogeneous. There seems to be quite a status gap between university professors and junior academics, and the junior careers are often viewed as being overshadowed by job insecurity, high selectively and dependency. Moreover, the situation of the academic profession at other institutions of higher education, i.e the Fachhochschulen, seems to be fairly distinct from that at universities. This article examines the extent of differences and similarities between these categories in Germany as compared to other advanced countries not only as far as personal characteristics, career and employment conditions are concerned, but also regarding select aspects of the work situation as well as of the academics’ views and values. The analysis confirms in some respects that there is a higher status gap between junior and senior academics in Germany than in many other advanced countries and that this is in part reflected in the work situation and the academics’ views. Also, Germany belongs to the minority of the countries analysed where the function of other higher education institutions seems to differ substantially from the function of universities. Such differences, however, do not hold true for all aspects analysed. For example, facilities for work are not viewed to differ substantially. Finally, it is noteworthy that the overall job satisfaction of junior academics at German universities has improved substantially over the years, although the employment conditions have not changed very much. The question cannot be responded convincingly whether academics in Germany – as well as in other countries - could be viewed best as a single academic profession or as an umbrella term for distinct conditions, activities and values.


High Education High Education Institution Academic Career Institutional Type Career Stage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Higher Education ResearchUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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