- Using survey data collected by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Cornell University researchers found that 93% of Ph.Ds employed at nonprofits were satisfied with their jobs, compared to 88% of those Ph.D.s working in higher education.
- Individuals in the nonprofit sector reported stronger levels of satisfaction with pay, support from colleagues and the service opportunities provided compared to their academic counterparts.
- The comprehensive study examined responses from more than 5,000 doctorate holders in the humanities and social sciences fields, over the span of years. Methodology accounted for race and gender differences and life circumstances, like marital status and childbearing, and combined other factors to paint a holistic picture of career outcomes and patterns.
Last year, the National Science Foundation released data showing 40% of recent Ph.Ds grads did not have job commitments. Another study by American Academy of Arts and Sciences looked at advertising patterns and found the number of full-time faculty teaching jobs available declining. The surge of institutions relying on low-paid adjunct and part-time faculty is well-documented; and if one did not acquire credentials from an Ivy League institution, data suggests faculty prospects are even more limited.
However, faculty are the engines of the higher education machine, and leaders would do well to reconsider the business models around the ways faculty are factored into the business model — including the way tenure and promotion are evaluated. Keeping a fresh pool of diverse faculty improves the quality of education at the institution, offers a stronger collection of mentors and others who can potentially help students navigate not only the pathways to graduation, but the school-to-workplace pipeline. Ultimately, this improves the institutional bottom line by boosting institutional outcomes.
In lieu of of better pay and job stability, institutions should focus more creating a more collaborative and friendly workplace climate. Faculty, who often complain about the overly hierarchical culture of universities, appreciate working in a more nurturing culture. Many are finding that in other industries.