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Neue Publikation: How wide is the gap? Comparing geography graduates’ labor market success with that of peers from business and computer science.

New Publication: How wide is the gap? Comparing geography graduates’ labor market success with that of peers from business and computer science.

© I. Liefner, 2021

With growing numbers of university graduates, the choice of academic programs has gained in importance to enter the labor market successfully. Simultaneously, the link between the field of study and actual professional career is becoming increasingly blurry. This paper, authored by Christian Teichert, Ingo Liefner and Anne Otto, aims to contribute to a better understanding of these relations and to position geography in this wide spectrum. We develop a conceptual framework to systematically categorize the relations between academic programs and their associated labor markets. We employ this framework in a most-different-case design to quantitatively analyze the influence of the field on the graduates’ career prospects, using student records of several German universities linked with administrative biographical data from social security records. We find evidence that the influence of the field of study on full-time employment and wage is substantial, controlling for various factors. Geographers do face difficulties on the labor market, but the demand for their core competencies – interdisciplinary, spatially specific and sustainability-related thinking – is rising through current societal developments. Moreover, we find some indication that those performance gaps are not an exceptional phenomenon of geographers but also apply to graduates of different fields of study with multidimensional and indirect links to the associated labor markets.

Teichert, C.; Liefner, I.; Otto, A. (2021): How wide is the gap? Comparing geography graduates’ labor market success with that of peers from business and computer science. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2021.1960490