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Sometimes (more frequently in some disciplines than in others) part-time assistantship contracts are offered.
When expressly chosen, part-time employment can offer advantages such as the possibility of accepting assignments outside the university or maintaining a presence in the non-academic working world, culture or associations. Such experience is very useful in various ways if you are ultimately looking for a job outside academia.
While part-time work can seem a good solution to leave you time to pursue other activities such as family and domestic commitments, it is however frequently synonymous with precarious working conditions and obstacles to a professional career.
Part-time work has many disadvantages if you are employed as an assistant:
- Since the salary level for assistantships is relatively low, part-time work does not always allow you to manage financially.
- Due to the level of professional commitment required of university researchers, it’s very difficult not to exceed your official number of working hours. Working extra hours is standard practice in academic circles. For part-time employees, this eventually amounts to receiving a part-time salary for a full-time job.
- Part-time assistants are less visible, have a more limited scientific network and on average publish less than their full-time colleagues, all factors that put them at a disadvantage in terms of an academic career.
Young women hoping to pursue an academic career, and particularly female assistants, occupy part-time posts more frequently than men. From the equal opportunity point of view, units and professors that employ assistants have a role to play in ensuring that full-time posts are not more frequently offered to men and part-time posts to women.