According this awesome paper above the answer to that question is not what you may think. Common wisdom passed down to Ph.D. students is that the main currency for getting a job is to have a solid publication record. While there is a lot of truth in that, this paper found that, above and beyond your individual accomplishments, the rank of your Ph.D. program department is what most determines you’re likelihood of finding a job after your Ph.D. My intuition about this makes it not as surprising, but I guess it is just surprising that my gut intuition fits with data that suggests a larger trend than just my anecdotal experiences.
Though individual accomplishments (like publications) weren’t the largest predictor of success in finding a job, they are still predictive of landing a job and in particular, where you land a job (i.e. R1, R2, liberal arts, 2-year university, non-academic). Here is an interesting excerpt from the paper discussing the ‘value-added’ of each publication you’re able to produce during your Ph.D.:
“Another notable aspect of the multinomial regressions is the unique predictive power of publications among the employ- ment categories. In reference to the PhD granting-1 institution job, for example, a one-unit increase in publications (so one more publication on a CV) increases the chances of a PhD- granting institution-1 job by (a) 15% when compared with no job, (b) 19% when compared with a job at a PhD granting-2 institution, (c) 19% when compared with a job at an MA- granting institution, (d) 43% when compared with employ- ment at a 2-year school, and (e) 12% when compared with a job outside academia.4 When controlling for other factors that go into the hiring decision, we now have a better understand- ing of the value of each new publication on a CV.” Pg. 215
This is a really interesting article that I find very relevant to my current situation, so I thought I’d share. If you have thoughts on these findings please share in the comments. As always, thanks for your time and reading!