I am considering applying for a post-doc in the humanities at an Austrian university. The position is advertised as a "Postdoc University Assistant position (50%, 20 hrs., "Universitätsassistent/in", "Post-Doc")". The salary, accordingly, is lower than what one might expect from a full-time postdoc. Could those of you familiar with Austrian/Central European academia please advise me if this is indeed a part-time position (and I can e.g. look for another part-time postdoc), or if it is standard practice where one is expected to work full-time and receives half of the salary (as is often the case with PhD students in Germany)?

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    Comparing students in Germany with post-docs in Austria is probably not very useful. While I don't know the answer for Austria, I'd think that advertising a half time position but requiring a full time commitment would be likely illegal. Hopefully illegal, anyway.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 17:48
  • I would suspect this means the PI only has funding for half a postdoc position. What else should they advertise? What they expect, or not expect, is something you can inquire with them. Legally, you can of course take another half job. And as long as you do your work, there is no way (afaik) to get you fired.
    – user151413
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of a "standard practice" to employ postdocs for 20hrs and expect full-time work (disclaimer: familiar with Austria, but not the humanities). It is extremely common to work more than your official hours on paper though.

What I have seen before is postdocs combining part time positions across different funding sources, or having additional teaching (lecturer) contracts on top of a part-time salary. Depending on your contract, you might need approval from your employer before taking additional jobs in the same field, so this is usually coordinated with your supervisor.

I don't know the exact situation in the humanities, but I'd encourage you to ask your prospective PI about what they envision.

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