Recently I got a position as a 3-year fixed-term lecturer at an Australia university. I wonder if there is any possibility to transfer to permanent position? Or I would have a better chance if I apply to an open continuing position after working there?

  • I suspect that the answer to this will depend upon the policies of the university in question, so it's likely that this question will be closed. Congratulations on your appointment, though, and welcome to the site. – nick012000 Sep 21 '19 at 11:42
  • Yes, it is too individualized. Ask at your current university what options you might have. – Buffy Sep 21 '19 at 12:26
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    I don't quite agree, I think this is an interesting question. "Is this a valid career progression pathway in Australia?" is worth asking as it isn't in some countries, and I think it can be answered broadly without too much focus on one institution. – GrotesqueSI Sep 21 '19 at 12:54
  • @GrotesqueSI, unless Australia has applicable laws, the policies of each university may be different. What is common at one, may be impossible at another. If it is ever possible, then it technically is possible, but that won't help the OP unless it is possible at their institution. – Buffy Sep 21 '19 at 16:31
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    At my university, such positions don't usually lead to a continuing position. Australia universities tend to have such positions to manage their budget so that they don't have a long term salary commitment. The more usual case is that the position gets extended; e.g., after three years, the position may be reviewed and extended for one session or one year. This may continue for a number of sessions/years; basically, you don't have job security. – Prof. Santa Claus Sep 21 '19 at 19:45

Is it possible? Yes. Fixed-term positions can (in general; individual departments may have their own oddities) transition into

  1. Another fixed-term position;
  2. A 'continuing contingent funded' position (i.e. an ongoing job supported by an external funding stream, which might one day run dry, in which case you can be let go);
  3. A 'continuing' position (an ongoing job supported by the University's central funds).

Depending on circumstances various HR hoops may need to be jumped through.

Is it likely? This is going to depend on the specifics of your situation, local politics, and financial considerations. If there was already funding in place for a permanent position, it is unlikely they would 'only' advertise a fixed-term job. However, there may (or may not) be prospects of more money becoming available in the future, e.g. due to retirements. This is something to discuss with the people recruiting you, but remember that their 'hopes' and 'intentions' may not ultimately count for much. Inevitably, when that money becomes available, there will be competing demands for it.

As @AnonymousPhysicist says, your chances are greatly improved if you are able to obtain leverage: a threat to leave and take $$$ of grant funding with you tends to focus the administration's mind.

  • Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. I guess I just need to work hard and don't worry too much. – kelly1221 Sep 22 '19 at 18:23

Ask your head of school, but probably not.

Usually people switch from fixed-term to continuing within their university by

  1. Attracting a large grant which requires that they be employed by the university.
  2. Applying for an open position at their university.

It is not usually available as part of the promotion process. I don't know every university in Australia, though.

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