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7.5.1Characteristics of starting assistant professors
The number of assistant professors starting out each academic year has remained fairly unchanged between 1999 and 2006, apart from one exception in 2000. On average, 153 assistant professors have started each academic year. From 2007 until 2010 there has been a gradual increase of starting assistant professors. On average, 193 assistant professors started each academic year during this period. In the following period (from 2011 to 2016) there was no further increase; the two outliers in 2013 and 2014 (268 and 265 assistant professors respectively) are mostly related to the integration process of the university colleges, leading to a part of the college lecturers being transferred to the universities. The average number of new assistant professors from 2011 to 2016 was 229 (Figure 1).
In 1999-2000, less than one in four of the starting assistant professors were women. Their share has gradually increased to a maximum of 41% in 2016-2017. The starting assistant professors initially were mainly Belgians (96%). Over time, their share has gradually decreased to 77% in 2016-2017 (Figure 1).
The median age of starting assistant professors was slightly higher in the earlier cohorts (38 and 39 years in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001). From 2001-2002 till 2010-2011 the age at the start of the assistant professorship was lower (35 to 36 years). From 2011 there was again a slight increase to 36 to 37 years. Overall, there was no significant difference in starting age between men and women in the 1999-2016 period (Mann-Whithey U for independent groups, p = 0.9) (Figure 2).