Although the social marketing field has developed relatively quickly, little is known about the careers of students who chose social marketing as their main subject of study. Such research is important not only because it reveals employment trends and mobility but also because it informs policy making with respect to curriculum development as well as raises governmental and societal interest in the social marketing field. This paper aims to analyse the career pathways of doctoral graduates who examined social marketing as the subject of their theses. Doctoral graduates represent a special group in a knowledge economy, who are considered the best qualified for the creation and dissemination of knowledge and innovation.
A search strategy identified 209 doctoral-level social marketing theses completed between 1971 and 2015. A survey was then delivered to dissertation authors, which received 117 valid responses.
Results indicate that upon graduation, most graduates secured full-time jobs, where about 66 per cent worked in higher education, whereas the others worked in the government, not-for-profit and private sectors. Currently, there is a slight decline in the number of graduates employed in the higher education, government and not-for-profit sectors but an increase in self-employed graduates. A majority of graduates are working in the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada. Overall, levels of international mobility and research collaboration are relatively low.
This is arguably the first study to examine the career paths of social marketing doctoral graduates.
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