Barriers to attracting the best researchers: perceptions of academics in economics and physics in three European countries
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Recruitment is one of the main strategic tools for universities, which aim to hire the best possible candidates for their academic positions. However, not every institution can hire whom they perceive as the best. Our paper investigates what are perceived to be the most pressing hindrances to attracting the best researchers. We focus on national and disciplinary differences in researchers’ perceptions of barriers to recruiting the best scholars in their fields. We surveyed researchers in economics and physics in the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK and find that economists emphasize salary level and institutional prestige as the main barriers, while physicists underline competition from non-academic actors and career development opportunities. We further find differences by country. In Norway, limited institutional prestige is a key barrier to attracting the best researchers, while researchers in the UK highlight salary levels. Respondents at Dutch universities claim that they experience multiple, equally important barriers.