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08/13/2020

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experience with <100% in EU

This may be due to the fact that most jobs up so far are abroad, due to the US' difficulty (incompetency) at dealing with coronavirus... Countries like the Netherlands and Germany have state-mandated full-time positions at less than 100%. In the Netherlands, the minimum for full-time is I think 70% or 80%, at 32 hours per week, whereas 100% is 36-40 hours per week (at the worker's choice). The advantage is that you can work fewer hours while retaining full job benefits. I am not sure how it works in practice, but from what I have been told, HR takes these percentages into account when stipulating your job obligations: service, teaching load, etc. (e.g., at 80%, you might teach 3 courses instead of 4, and you will have less onerous service requirements; of course, you will also be paid at 80%). You may also be able to negotiate moving up to 100% when the university has the budget to do so. From what I understand, the difference is not one in kind (like between adjunct, VAP, and assistant professor): if the job title is "assistant professor" you will still be eligible for promotion and compensated for research as well as teaching.

I've had a job like that...

My advice is to look at them **very** closely. I had an 80% contract at a previous position, and I was certainly working far **more** than a normal full time position. Reason is that I had 80% of what would have been a 100% Teaching and Admin load. This worked out as far more teaching and admin than those on R&T contracts, with no research or scholarship time. Given the need to do research on top of that to get the next job, I worked way beyond 'normal' hours. I realise that especially in the current market, for many a job is a job, but be aware that in my experience many less than 100% jobs are are teaching focused, and what seems to be the difference is that you lose your research time, while being expected to do what amounts to a full-time teaching/admin/service job (for less money of course - the real reason many of these positions exist!).

on 80% contract

Re: I've had a job like that: was this a European job? In my case in Europe, my teaching/admin load was reduced from others on 100% contracts, and research expectations also reduced from 1 article/year to .8 articles/year (e.g., 4 articles in 5 years). There are also regulations in many EU countries about not working more than your contract stipulates. So this might be misleading for non-US jobs; many non-100% jobs in Europe are not teaching-focused.

EuropeanInAmerica

It is (sadly) quite common in Germany and Austria to have 50% or 75% percent positions as a postdoc. These positions are officially part-time positions (and do not count as full, like "experience with..." suggests for the Netherlands). I do not know whether there are VISA issues, if you work only part-time. You should ask the German consulate or your embassy in Germany. The "50+" suggests that you might get funding from another "pot" in the department (I saw the ad too, but I am not affiliated with anybody there), but only for the first year. Afterwards you could enhance your salary by a successful grant application (this is a very common thing in Germany too). About the working realities: I had a 50% research position at a German institute. While I could have worked part-time, I took it as full time job. Whether it is expected that you work full time, depends on your employer. Officially nobody can force you to work full time (Germany has excellent worker's rights). The ad explicitly says that you can take it as a part-time position, if you want (this implies, however, that people usually take it as a full time position, with half the pay).
The description "assistant professor" is actually a little misleading. Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (the denomination in German) is not a tenure-track job and there are hardly tenure-track jobs in the German-speaking world. The equivalent to assistant professor would be junior professor in Berlin which are mostly also not tenure-track, however. The literal translation of Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter is research assistant and I find this a more accurate description of what this job actually is. As wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter you work at the chair of a professor (full professorships are called chairs in Germany, they are usually endowed with several junior positions, mostly one doctoral and one postdoctoral). The professor is your direct supervisor. You usually have a small teaching load (2/2 if it is a full position) and are expected to do research (publications, conferences etc.) in the area you were hired for. These positions are up to 5 years in Germany (the ad also refers to that) and 6 years in Austria. They cannot be transformed into a permanent position. You thus have to apply somewhere else after the 5 or 6 years are over (and are usually blocked to apply at the same university). They are a great opportunity to get some research and teaching under your belt. There are well paid, if they are full. You can live from a 50% position in Berlin, but only like a student.

I've had a job like that...

80% contract: Yes, it was in the EU.

I'd disagree on *many* non-100% jobs not being teaching-focused, but I admit that have no data, only personal sense of the market. Some notable exceptions of course; in countries like Germany/Netherlands where PhD posts are advertised as non-100% jobs for reasons others have mentioned. But, in my experience, non-100% tends strongly to teaching focused (especially in the UK).

"There are also regulations in many EU countries about not working more than your contract stipulates." - Yes, this is true, and was true in the country I worked in. However, we all know that there are various ways round this, and people that take these jobs are almost always junior and not in a position to say no if asked to take on extra responsibilities. Another factor here is that it is rare that the junior person can say 'I work only 80%, therefore I want one day without teaching duties'. In my experience, the more junior you are, the less you are able to negotiate your time in terms of days that you will need to be in. This has a big impact into working more hours that contracted. Once you are coming in every day, you are likely working a full time job in terms of hours per week.

All in my experience though! Would be very happy if my (somewhat exploited) personal history is not happening to others, but I think it is more likely that my experience is not unique.

EuropeanInAmerica

The part-time positions in Germany and Austria are quite a mixed bag. Most of them (near to all) have in common that they are temporary positions for junior philosophers (doctoral or postdoctoral). They come in three main forms:
- Wissenschaftlicher MitarbeiterIn: what I described in my other post is a combination of research, teaching, and service.
- (Post)doctoral researcher in projects (e.g. ERC, DFG, or FWF): These positions are indeed research only positions. I had two of these positions (one part time, on full time). Although you are affiliated to the project, you nevertheless can do some service for the department. And you can work as an adjunct at the department, teaching one course in a term which is extra paid (but badly paid).
- Lecturer positions: There are also part-time teaching positions, in Germany they are often called Akademischer Rat a.Z. (auf Zeit = temporary), in Austria (Senior) Lecturer. These positions can become permanent and they are not bad, if they are full time (but different from lecturer positions in the UK). You have to do a lot of teaching though (similar to teaching stream positions at some North American departments; although, again, these are not automatic tenure track positions; it depends on your department whether there is the possibility that they become permanent).

I have the impression that most of the positions that are announced in Germany and Austria are indeed research-focused. If you have department with 6 full professors you have probably 8 to 10 research associates (my designation; they are announced as assistant professors). One ERC project brings you already up to 6 research positions. Projects from national funding organisations usually have 2 to 4 project members. There are not so many lecturer positions an German or Austrian departments, maybe 2. But again, this is all my speculation. Things also depend a little on whether there is an inside candidate or not (and, hence, how widely they positions are promoted). But a professor will hardly have 6 inside candidates for her ERC project...

on 80% contract

It sounds like there are broad, country-specific differences -- in the Netherlands, there are assistant professor positions which are permanent, on a track (or at least eligible) for promotion to full professor, research-focused, and less than 100%. I agree "part-time" positions may have an altogether different status in, e.g., Germany or the UK. So it's worth thinking about the country context when you apply for these positions. And look carefully at the ad: the ad will likely specify things like teaching load, teaching/research percentage breakdowns, any major service obligations, etc., which should already reflect the "part-time" status.

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