Time-to-Promotion in Academic Careers: Modelling Event History Analysis
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Policy makers and university managers emphasize the importance of bringing excellent academics and attracting the best people into the university and the research system. In result has been the increasing attention to the issue of productivity and mobility as demanded characteristics of academics. However, the practices of recruitment, access to tenure and academic promotion has received remarkably little attention more than mentioning the need to be based in merit assessment. The promotion practice and the salary levels are essential parts of the reward system, but in Spain there is no individual differentiation in the latter one, then promotion is the essential element defining the incentive and opportunity structure for academics strategies. This study, based on a questionnaire survey responses and publications data of 1362 university professors in several fields in Spain, attempt to understand the dynamics of access to tenure in universities and the relevant factors to account for this type of academic promotion. Using event history analysis the paper looks at the timing and duration and the effects of some relevant covariates associated to productivity, social embeddedness and diverse types of mobility. Interesting research productivity plays a marginal role in the advancement of career to promotion, other factors account for the duration. The results confirm classical findings of the relevance of early publication as the most relevant factor to predict rapid career advancement/tenure; at the same time international mobility and mobility outside academic increases the duration of the promotion. Other social factors, that could raise concerns about the dominant incentives in academic career in Spanish universities, play a relevant role in the reducing the time elapsed from PhD graduation to tenure. There is not a significant role of sex; women take just an additional month than men to be promoted and the result is barely significant. The heterogeneity of the duration of the promotion for the different scientific domains is confirmed, with faster career advancement for those in the Engineering and Technological Sciences compared with the academics in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences.