7.5.2Global career trajectory of assistant professors starting at one of the Flemish universities


For the cohort having started their assistant professorship in the academic year 1999-2000 (N = 141) we find that 17 years after starting, more than one in three (37%) was no longer employed at one of the Flemish universities as a paid professor (Figure 3). Only 31% of this group had reached retirement age at that time and 15% were 60-65 years old. This means that for at least one in five of the starting assistant professors from the 1999-2000 cohort, their academic career in Flanders had been terminated prematurely (54% of 37%). In Figure 4 we compare different cohorts of starting assistant professors with regard to the share no longer employed at one of the Flemish universities five to seven years after starting. Those who had reached retirement age at the time of evaluation (an absolute minority: 0 to 2.4%) were not taken into account. Five years after starting, on average 13% of the starting assistant professors were no longer employed in Flanders as a professor; after seven years it was 15%. There are some cohorts where the proportion of "leavers" is lower or higher, but there is no trend over time.

Figure 3. Evolution of the assistant professors having started in the academic year 1999-2000

Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft020406080100120140160Number1234567891011121314151617N of years after starting0204060801001201401601234567891011121314151617 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft020406080100120140160Number1234567891011121314151617N of years after starting0204060801001201401601234567891011121314151617 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft050100150Number1234567891011121314151617N of years after starting0501001501234567891011121314151617

Figure 4. Share that was no longer employed as a professor at one of the Flemish universities five to seven years after starting as an assistant professor broken down by academic year of starting

5 yrs after starting6 yrs after starting7 yrs after starting0%2%4%6%8%10%12%14%16%18%20%Share1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011Academic year of starting024681012141618201999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011 5 yrs after starting6 yrs after starting7 yrs after starting0%5%10%15%20%Share1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011Academic year of starting051015201999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011 5 yrs after starting6 yrs after starting7 yrs after starting0%5%10%15%20%Share1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011Academic year of starting051015201999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011

For the analysis of the further career trajectory, we exclude those who were no longer employed as a professor in Flanders.

Seven years after starting, about half of the assistant professors who had started in 1999-2000 (and who were still employed by the university) had moved on to associate professor or further; eight years after starting, this was already 73%. A small proportion (10%, N = 9) was still employed as an assistant professor 17 years after starting (Figure 3).

In the 2004-2005 cohort we see that seven years after starting as an assistant professor, 79% had already moved on to associate professor or further (Figure 5). This was 77% in the 2009-2010 cohort (Figure 6). Although the promotion to associate professor in these two more recent cohorts happened faster than in the 1999-2000 cohort, a larger share in this latter cohort had already moved on to (senior) full professor seven years after starting (17% from the 1999-2000 cohort versus 7% and 3% from the 2004-2005 and 2009-2010 cohorts respectively).

Figure 7 shows the promotion to (senior) full professor for a few cohorts. We do indeed observe that seven years after starting the share having moved on to (senior) full professor was higher in the older cohorts. In the 1999-2000 to 2004-2005 cohorts, an average of 18.3% had moved on to (senior) full professor. In the 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 cohorts this was 8.6% (p < 0.001). Nine years after starting however, there was no difference between the cohorts: in the cohorts 1999-2000 to 2004-2005 an average of 33.5% had moved on to (senior) full professor and in the cohorts 2005-2006 to 2007-2009 that was 29.3% (p = 0.13).

Figure 5. Evolution of the assistant professors having started in the academic year 2004-2005

Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft020406080100120140160Number123456789101112N of years after starting020406080100120140160123456789101112 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft020406080100120140160Number123456789101112N of years after starting020406080100120140160123456789101112 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft050100150Number123456789101112N of years after starting050100150123456789101112

Figure 6. Evolution of the assistant professors having started in the academic year 2009-2010

Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft020406080100120140160180200Number1234567N of years after starting0204060801001201401601802001234567 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft050100150200Number1234567N of years after starting0501001502001234567 Assistant professorAssociate professorFull professorSenior full professorLeft050100150200Number1234567N of years after starting0501001502001234567

Figure 7. Share that promoted to (senior) full professor n years after starting for 11 cohorts of starting assistant professors (from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010)

AY 1999AY 2000AY 2001AY 2002AY 2003AY 2004AY 2005AY 2006AY 2007AY 2008*AY 2009*0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%Share456789N of years after starting0510152025303540456789AY 2005: 35% AY 1999AY 2000AY 2001AY 2002AY 2003AY 2004AY 2005AY 2006AY 2007AY 2008*AY 2009*0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%Share456789N of years after starting0510152025303540456789 AY 1999AY 2000AY 2001AY 2002AY 2003AY 2004AY 2005AY 2006AY 2007AY 2008*AY 2009*0%10%20%30%40%Share456789N of years after starting010203040456789

* For starters from 2009-2010, the maximum available follow-up is seven years after starting and for those from 2008-2009, that is eight years after starting.

AY= academic year, e.g. AY 1999=1999-2000