We look into the question whether heterogeneity stemming from research orientation, gender, or disciplinary and cultural differences with their PhD supervisors helps or hampers academics’ careers. Based on a sample of 248 academics at two leading European universities of technology, we combine multinomial logit models and sequential logit models to understand career advancement. Our results show that heterogeneity stemming from research orientation is helpful. Academics who bridge between the quest for fundamental understanding and socio-economic relevance attain career success. Yet heterogeneity stemming from gender hinders careers: female academics face problems securing tenured positions and full professorships. Mentor–mentee heterogeneity only helps in early career transitions, but hampers advancement later on. Our insights offer suggestions to policymakers, university managers, and academics, because they help to identify promising academics, the right support for sitting staff members, measures correcting for gender imbalances, and can inform strategic choices regarding research orientation and PhD supervisors.
- Academic careers
- research orientation