Postdoctoral Researcher in Social Sciences
University of Amsterdam Department of Sociology

Postdoctoral Researcher for CAREER Project

Publication date 2 February 2021

Closing date 1 March 2021

Level of education PhD

Hours 30,4 to 38 hours per week

Salary indication €3,746 to €5,127 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week

Vacancy number 21-066

In the Department of Sociology, part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher. 

The postdoctoral researcher will work in the CAREER project, financed by the ERC and led by Dr Thijs Bol. The project team will consist of one postdoctoral researcher and two PhD students. Please note that the substantive focus of the project and the postdoctoral position should be treated as an outline. Own input of the postdoctoral scholar will be highly appreciated, and the position’s focus will be adjusted depending on the profile of the candidate.

About the CAREER project

In CAREER we will investigate how labor markets have changed, and how these changes affect the careers of individual workers. Labor markets are changing rapidly, which begs the question whether it is still sensible to provide students with very specific educational training for occupations that will change or even disappear. The main puzzle of the project is whether students with broad, general, educational qualifications are indeed better equipped for the future, given that what is demanded in the labor market is under rapid change. Within the project we take a career perspective to study how and why labor market returns to vocational (i.e. very specific) and general (i.e. broad) education vary over the life cycle. CAREER is a comparative project, and will focus on six countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Using computational methods on unique data of millions of historical job vacancy texts, we describe how labor markets are changing. Relying on high quality panel data we map how careers of vocational and general graduates develop in changing labor markets. By extending the observation window from the early to the full career, CAREER shows how workers with specific or general qualifications perform in rapidly changing labor markets. This will not only enrich our understanding of the link between education and the labor market, it will also inform policy makers on a future-proof education system. For more information on the project, please contact Dr Thijs Bol.

What will you do?

Within CAREER, the postdoctoral researcher will work on two vital parts:

  1. you will use computational methods to study labor market change by using millions of job vacancy texts. For four of the six countries under study, the goal is to map labor market changes over the past two decades by analyzing job requirements in vacancy texts. Access to vacancy texts has been obtained in three countries;
  2. by linking these data to existing panel data, you will study how labor market changes have affected the work careers of graduates with general or specific qualifications. Based on these analyses, the postdoctoral researcher will write research papers to be submitted to international peer-reviewed journals.

The work will be done in collaboration with the PI (Thijs Bol) and the rest of the CAREER team (two PhD students). As mentioned above, the substantive focus of the postdoctoral position is an outline, and can be adjusted depending on the focus and input of the postdoctoral researcher. As postdoctoral researcher, you will also be involved in project activities, for example as co-supervisor of one of the PhD students. Teaching activities may be possible, depending on teaching demands (teaching hours would come on top of the contract hours).

What do we require of you?

You have:

  • a recent PhD in Sociology, Computational Social Science, Economics or a related field. Candidates whose dissertation has been approved at the start of the project can also apply;
  • demonstrable experience with doing advanced quantitative research (e.g., R, Stata) and preferably also with programming (e.g. Python), as evidenced by publications or working papers in English;
  • strong writing skills.

You are:

  • an independent quantitative researcher in the social sciences;
  • experienced in advanced statistical analysis;
  • experienced, or willing to learn, how to analyze millions of vacancy texts;
  • looking forward to work together in a team with the PI and two PhD students;
  • fluent in English.

Our offer

The position concerns a temporary employment contract of 34,2 to 38 hours per week for a total duration of three years. If the candidate proves suitable after the first year, we intend to extend the term of employment for two years. The starting date is 1 September 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter. Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €3,746 and a maximum salary of €5,127 gross per month based on a full-time appointment for a 38-hour working week (in keeping with scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary employee benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and year-end bonus. Because we value your continued personal development and professionalisation, we also offer excellent opportunities for study and development.

What else can we offer you?

The Department of Sociology provides a diverse work environment, where scholars from different perspectives work together. As a postdoctoral researcher you will be part of the Institutions, Inequalities, and Life Courses research group. Our department is situated in the Faculty of Social and Behavorial Sciences, that offers a challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development. As a postdoctoral scholar you could connect to several interdisciplinary initiatives, such as the Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies or Computational Social Science Amsterdam. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Dr Thijs Bol, project leader

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you are interested to apply, please send the following documents in one pdf before 2 March 2021:

  • a cover letter (max. 2 pages);
  • your CV;
  • one research paper that you feel is representative of your work.

You can apply online by clicking on the link below. Interviews will take place online in the second half of March 2021.

No agencies please

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