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News vom 05.08.2010

Good career prospects in higher education and science management

Are German higher education institutions (HEIs) and non-university research institutions internationally competitive with respect to the promotion of management careers? This question is covered by a new study that the CHE has carried out on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The situation in Germany was compared to that in 27 EU member states as well as Australia and the USA, and produced the result that, overall, the performance of the German science system was predominantly good when compared to the other EU states. In extra-university research institutions, career prospects for young managers are indeed well above the European average. Higher education and science managers still tend to enter the profession sideways by chance, however, learning the profession “on the job” is more important. In this respect, we can learn from helpful examples from Australia and the USA where the recruitment and development of talented managers takes place on a much more systematic basis than within the German science system.

This is the first study in Germany that offers comparable data at the international level in addition to the comprehensive empirical results for the development of the still very new higher education and science management field of work. Managers from 353 German HEIs and 140 extra-university research institutions (e.g. the Max Planck Society, the Helmholz Association, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, and the Leibniz Association) as well as 31 experts from 27 EU states were interviewed for the study. It also includes evaluations of interviews with 2,045 members of staff from deans’ offices (deans, vice-deans, and faculty managers), an analysis of the careers of 43 graduates of the MBA in higher education and science management at Fachhochschule Osnabrück as well as interviews with individual staff members at Australian and American HEIs.

According to German managers at HEIs and research institutions, well functioning management is a key factor for success for their institutions. Managers are therefore held in high esteem and this had led to increasing demand for young qualified managers, especially for medium-level management positions. The major growth areas are quality, research and finance management as well as controlling. According to those interviewed in Germany and abroad, women’s chances of following a career within higher education and science management are worse than men’s. Staff development measures should be created at an early stage to reverse this trend. Management jobs still have a worse reputation than academic careers, however, as they are regarded as second best, an option for those who have not made it in the academic world. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, the USA and the Netherlands are upgrading the value of management positions in a bid to combat this view.

The study, entitled “career promotion in science management – national and international models” can be downloaded from the Internet free of charge. It consists of two volumes: in addition to an overview of the current state of research at the international level, volume 1 also contains mainly empirical analyses for the development of higher education and science management in Germany, Europe, Australia and the USA, as well as examples of good practice for staff and career development in Germany and abroad. The appendix (volume 2) contains detailed studies of the situation in 27 EU countries, an overview of the possibilities for further education in higher education and science management in Germany, as well as additional information about Australia, the UK and the USA.


Further Information can be found in the publications stated below.

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