Young Ph.D. Graduates in Poland and Norway: Expectations of Women and Men Vs. Reality of the Labor Market

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Renata SIEMIENSKA, University of Warsaw, Poland
Ilona MATYSIAK, University of Warsaw, Poland
Erica WAAGENE, Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, Norway
Nowadays, at the time of massification of higher education, including doctoral studies, there are deep interests and efforts to identify what is of value of higher education and for whom.  Policy makers, potential employers, staff members of higher education institutions and students express different expectations. In literature and public debates students sometimes are defined as „consumers”, „independent learners”, „needy students” and „future graduates”  (Leatwood and Read 2009). The lack of convergence of the expectations and functionality of knowledge and skills possessed by Ph.D. graduates is often stressed by participants of the debates. Moreover, in Europe several authors and policy makers stress necessity to create fairly homogenous „European Higher Education Area” considering it as one of the goals of the Bologna process. Our goal is to compare findings of Norwegian and Polish studies on Ph.D. graduates, their motivations to study and evaluation of the doctoral training from the perspective of persons who already started their professional careers. We assume that Ph.D. graduates in the countries having different educational traditions and economies have different experiences in the workplaces as well as opportunities to develop their professional and life careers. The analysis is based on the comprehensive quantitative study of Ph.D. graduates of different fields, five years after obtaining their Ph.D. degree. The study was conducted in 2015 in Poland (N=800) and Norway (N= 464). The different sets of individual, institutional and structural factors influencing male and female Ph.D. graduates’ aspirations and career paths were analyzed. First results show that individual factors and social relations (family background, support of mentor and peers) play a greater role in relation to professional success in the academia in Poland than Norway. However, despite equal opportunities programs existing in Norway, in both countries women more often than men consider family obligations as an obstacle in professional work.