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Is there any research/study/survey that tried to quantify the reasons why faculty applicants accepted or rejected academic jobs that have been proposed to them? (e.g., location, salary, the current faculty, college ranking)

I am mostly interested in the United States and the field of computer science, but curious about other countries and fields as well.

1 Answer 1

See Matier, Michael W. "Recruiting Faculty: Complementary Tales from Two Campuses." Research in Higher Education 32.1 (1991): 31-44. DOI: 10.1007/BF00992831

As the abstract says:

This paper—a complement to “Retaining Faculty: A Tale of Two Campuses” (Matier, 1990)—examines the factors influencing individuals with firm offers to join the faculty at two research universities. Particular attention is paid to the relative weight and importance placed on the tangible, intangible, and non-work-related benefits in the decision-making process.

According to this paper:

Using the enticement to accept the Wyandot, Manada, and alternative best opportunity values assigned by the participants for each factor, it was possible to determine those most important in the decision-making process.


Of the ten most important factors at each of the subject institutions, nine were common to both. Of these, eight were intangible benefits: reputation of institution, teaching assignments/opportunities, reputation of department, career advancement opportunities, reputation of associates, congeniality of associates, research opportunities, and rapport with departmental leaders.

The remaining common factor was the tangible benefit teaching/research load, ranked number three at Wyandot and number eight at Manada. The uncommon factor ranked in the top ten at Wyandot was the tangible benefit research funding (ranked number nine). At Manada, it was the tangible benefit library facilities (ranked number seven).

Another similar study: Teevan, James J., Susan Pepper, and Joseph R. Pellizzari. "Academic employment decisions and gender." Research in Higher Education 33.2 (1992): 141-160. DOI: 10.1007/BF00973576

Its findings include:

The most frequently mentioned reason for accepting a position, cited by 50 percent of academics, was the reputation of the department or the university, a factor similarly important to both males and females. The next most frequently mentioned reasons for accepting positions concerned the compatibility of the job with family needs (cited by 39% of all respondents), positive aspects of the job offer, and personal opportunities (each mentioned by 36% of all respondents).

Among those who declined or resigned from positions, a somewhat different pattern emerged. Dissatisfaction with aspects of the job offer, cited by 47 percent of these respondents, and the incompatibility of the position with family needs, cited by 42 percent, were the most frequently mentioned reasons. Insufficient research support, fewer personal opportunities, and a weaker university or department were mentioned by 26 to 30 percent of these respondents.

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