Study title
Doctorate and Career (PuK): Career and Income Development of Doctoral Graduates in Switzerland
Ref study 8717
Study language German
Contributing institutions
  • Karriere
  • Gender studies
  • Promotion
  • Bildungssoziologie
  • Berufswahlmotive
  • Akademikerarbeitsmarkt
  • Übergang Hochschule-Beruf
  • Studienwahlmotive
  • Einkommensverläufe
Geographical space
Deutsche Schweiz
  • Switzerland
The importance of higher education certificates for entering the labour markets and earning higher incomes has been sufficiently proven by reliable empirical findings. However, there is only limited information available on the employment opportunities of young people with a doctorate and the structures of their careers after starting their careers. From the perspective of differentiated research on whereabouts, it is now necessary to close this gap for doctoral candidates in Switzerland by means of a standardised survey. The aim of the study is a differentiated longitudinal analysis of employment opportunities and career paths. Both empirically substantiated descriptions and theoretically substantiated explanations of the professional careers of graduates with a doctorate will be presented. The focus will be on questions of employment opportunities and the career success of doctoral candidates.
(1) A doctorate today no longer seems to necessarily lead to a management position, depending on the subject area. From the point of view of human capital theory or enlightened structural-individualistic approaches, the question arises at the professional level for university graduates as to whether it is at all still worthwhile to do a doctorate and - if so - for whom the doctorate is worthwhile in the long term and to what extent?
(2) Which individual resources on the one hand and which structures and developments on Switzerland's labour markets on the other hand determine the patterns of transition to the profession? What restrictions and opportunities do doctoral candidates have to expect? As far as the further course of their careers is concerned, the adequacy of training and occupation must be questioned: In the course of their educational expansion, do more and more doctoral candidates have to make do with substandard jobs - as compared to their education?
(3) What are the mobility structures of doctoral candidates? Can they achieve rapid career advancement? How flexible are they on the labour market? What are the differences for different doctoral cohorts?
In addition to biographical and socio-economic determinants of the course of a career, the income on the one hand and the professional position or professional activity at various points in time in an event-oriented design on the other are to be collected as explanatory indicators for professional success. The subjective assessment of professional career can be based on satisfaction with professional success, which can be seen as a measure of the discrepancy between professional expectations and professional success. For doctoral candidates in particular, in addition to the adequacy of qualification and professional activity, the scientific relevance of the profession pursued could also be important for retrospective assessment. If you look at the doctorate on an individual level, it is interesting to determine the motivation for the doctorate and how it was financed, integrated and supervised during the doctoral phase. The duration and age of the doctorate must be taken into account. Finally, the question also arises as to how doctoral candidates assess the connection between training and career. The analysis of the data obtained should also shed light on the extent to which the professional success of doctoral candidates is linked to their gender and the field in which they received their doctorate. Finally, it is necessary to determine from the perspective of remaining in the profession how sustainable the current wage and labour market theories (e.g. human capital theory, theory of segmented labour markets, etc.) are in explaining the short and long-term employment opportunities of doctoral candidates.
Methods (description)
Erhebung mittels standardisierten Fragebögen. Retrospektive Angaben zum Lebens- und Berufsverlauf promovieter Deutschschweizerinnen und Deutschschweizer. Ereignisdatenanalyse.
Methods (instruments)
  • Standardised interviews - by mail
Replicated study No
  • Engelage, Sonja; Schubert, Frank. 2010. Sind Kinder ein Karrierehindernis für Hochgebildete? Karriere und Familie bei Promovierten in der Schweiz. In: Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 39, Heft 5, Oktober 2010, S. 382–401. Online:
  • Engelage, Sonja; Schubert, Frank. 2009. Promotion und Karriere - Wie adäquat sind promovierte Akademikerinnen und Akademiker in der Schweiz beschäftigt?. In: Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung, 42, p. 213-233.
  • Engelage, Sonja; Hadjar, Andreas. 2008. Promotion und Karriere - Lohnt es sich zu promovieren? Eine Analyse der Schweizerischen Absolventenstudie. In: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 34 (1), p. 71-93. Online:
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 04.05.2018
Date modified 04.05.2018
Start - End date 01.10.2006 - 28.10.2008