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Can J Exp Psychol. 2018 Jun;72(2):71-80. doi: 10.1037/cep0000149.

An analysis of the Canadian cognitive psychology job market (2006-2016).

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Department of Psychology, Yale University.
Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan.


How accomplished does one need to be to compete in the Canadian cognitive psychology job market? We looked at the publication record of everyone who was hired as an assistant professor in Canadian cognitive psychology divisions with PhD programs between 2006 and 2016 (N = 64). Individuals who were hired from 2006 to 2011 averaged 10 journal-article publications up to and including the year they were hired. However, this number increased by 57% to 18 publications between 2012 and 2016. Notably, this increase (a) occurred despite an increase in the number of positions since 2010, (b) was not restricted to top-ranked institutions, (c) did not come at the cost of decreasing quality in research (based on citations), and (d) was not driven by longer postdoctoral fellowships. To supply context, we obtained data on the publication records of 98 eminent and early-career award-winning cognitive psychologists when they obtained their first faculty positions. The correlation between year of hire and publication number in the full sample was strongly positive (r = .47) and driven primarily by a substantial increase in recent years, which suggests that the increasingly competitive job market is not specific to Canada. Finally, we found that behaviour (as opposed to neuroscience) researchers and those who obtained their PhDs from Canadian universities may be at particular risk in the job market. At a time when increasing numbers of PhDs are graduating from cognitive psychology programs, it has likely never been more difficult to obtain a faculty position. (PsycINFO Database Record.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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