Out of the fire and into the icebox? Postgraduation career paths of Australian political science Ph.Ds

Stream: Panel 47 - Public Policy & Social Justice: Higher Education Policy 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


There is no shortage of research on time-to-first employment for a myriad of groups in any given economy. New immigrants, ex-cons, freshly minted undergrads, working moms ...; the list of target subjects is virtually endless. Of course, this list includes recent Ph.ds. Self-reflecting economists led the charge in this area, but the range of academic disciplines extends from the dismal science to the natural sciences and beyond - with a notable exception: political science. In this paper, we present an inaugural time-to-first-employment analysis of Australian political science Ph.ds. Our selection pool consists of a sample of graduates from the Group of Eight political science/studies doctoral programmes and ranges from 2000 to the present. We run an event history model which estimates the likelihood of securing employment in a number of competing career destinations (academia, the public and private sectors as well as non-"political" jobs) while testing for the effects of individual, institutional and macro economic factors on landing that first job. Given that the first job is seldom the only job, we also conduct a sequence analysis to explore the variation in career trajectories by different groups of graduates. We expect the results to be of interest to current and prospective Ph.d. students, recent graduates as well as graduate programme staff and administration across the social sciences.


Matthew Kerby (Presenter), Australian National University

Andrew Banfield, Australian National University

Jonathan Tjandra, Australian National University