Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Job description

The WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Project Group National Educational Panel Study: Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning” (Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pollak), is offering a position of a

Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

The position is full-time (currently 39 hours per week). The contract will start on January 1, 2019 for the duration of four years.

The WZB is a publicly financed international social science institution that conducts basic research that is theory-based and problem-oriented. The position is located within long-term project “National Educational Panel Study: Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning”. It is part of the nation-wide interdisciplinary network project “National Educational Panel Study”, a quantitative longitudinal study on educational trajectories and competence development over the entire life course. At the WZB, the research project focuses on two stages in the life course, first on the transition of adolescents into vocational training and the labor market (sub-project “Vocational Training and Transitions into the Labor Market”), and, second, on further education, labor market trajectories and monetary and non-monetary returns to education (sub-project “Adult Education and Lifelong Learning”). The WZB group, together with its partners in the NEPS network, is responsible for the yearly panel surveys among adolescents and adults.

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral research fellow with a strong research profile in further education, occupational careers, transitions into vocational training and the labor market and/or in labor market inequalities. The candidate is expected to be highly motivated to engage in the theory-driven further development of the questionnaires and to use the data to develop her/his individual research profile through publications in leading academic journals.


  • conducting project-related substantive and methodological research independently and in co-operation team members at the WZB and at other NEPS network partner institutions
  • conducting yearly surveys in co-operation with the team members at the WZB and at the other NEPS network partner institutions
  • directing yearly studies and being the main responsible person for these studies
  • developing new questionnaire modules on lifelong learning and occupational changes
  • representing the WZB project group in NEPS network meetings
  • presenting results of research at international and national conferences, publishing articles in international and national journals


  • Excellent or very good doctoral degree in sociology or in a related field (economics, educational sciences, psychology)
  • Excellent knowledge in the field of lifelong learning and/or career development, intragenerational social mobility, transitions into vocational training and the labor market and/or labor market inequalities
  • Professional experience (incl. publications) in quantitative longitudinal data analysis
  • Professional experience in scientific data collection (quantitative data)
  • Excellent command of written and spoken German (C2)
  • Very good writing and communication skills in English and German
  • Excellent organizational skills proven in previous project contexts
  • Ability and willingness to work in an interdisciplinary multi-local team
  • Willingness to travel frequently within Germany
  • Willingness to achieve a habilitation or equivalent

Desirable characteristics:

  • Professional experience in longitudinal quantitative data collection
  • Professional experience in interdisciplinary projects

The NEPS team at the WZB is a group of young, dedicated researchers with a strong research focus on vocational training and lifelong learning. The WZB follows a code of conduct for the promotion of postdoctoral research fellows. We offer our researchers the possibility to teach courses at universities in Berlin. The research of WZB fellows is supported by research assistants, travel funding, access to small and medium-scale research funds, opportunities to invite external collaborators and speakers, and opportunities to participate in high-end methods seminars.

Remuneration: Salary level is EG 14 TVöD (in accordance with German public service collective agreement)


Candidates are kindly requested to send a valid application in German, including

  • a letter of interest,
  • a CV without photo, including a list of publications as well as information about science/project-relevant skills and experiences,
  • copies of Ph.D. certificate, university diplomas, and course transcripts,
  • copies of references (from employers and/or supervisors), if applicable,
  • if applicable, certificates regarding language skills
  • a synopsis (2-3 pages) of the research the candidate would like to conduct in this position
  • one publication (i.e. one dissertation chapter or one published or submitted journal article)

by e-mail until September 30, 2018 in pdf-format (one pdf-file) to: Sylvia Pichorner (sek-neps [at], subject: Application NEPS postdoc.

Job interviews are planned to take place in the second half of October 2018.

Equally well-qualified disabled persons will be given preference. The WZB expressly invites women and people with an immigrant background to apply.

Information on the NEPS Project Group and the respective projects can be found at Information about the WZB can be found at For individual questions, please contact reinhard.pollak [at]

Application deadline

Sylvia Pichorner
sek-neps [at]

Work and family


Since 2010 the audit berufundfamilie (Work-Family Audit) Certificate distinguishes the WZB as a family-friendly employer.