Tenure track

Professor’s fair tenure track

Tenure track systems for professors are in place in the universities and in some research institutes.

A professor’s position (contract for an indeterminate term) is filled by a public application process or by invitation. Legislation and collective agreements do not recognise a professor’s tenure track. For the tenure-track to be fair, it must follow the below criteria:


1. The university is using a public and clear description of the application process and advancement on the tenure track.

2. During the recruitment process, if only those deemed most qualified are being evaluated, the evaluation must concern at least three applicants. 

3. The employment contract of the recruited states the assessment criteria, under which his/her success will be evaluated.

4. Those on the tenure track are being treated non-discriminately and equally.

5. During the contractual employment relationship, the employment contract of the person on the tenure track can be altered on common agreement only.

6. Those on the tenure track are given sufficient information on how they can advance their career through their work and achievements.

7. Those on the tenure track are provided with a genuine opportunity to manage those tasks that will be used as the basis for the evaluation of their success.

8. The advancement of those on the tenure track is reviewed on an annual basis, for example, in connection with performance assessments.

9. Upon achieving the goals specified in the employment contract, an individual can advance on the tenure track faster than originally planned. 

10. Those recruited to a tenure-track position are provided with an opportunity to receive supervision and support for their work.

11. The university will ensure a fair continuation of the career for those who, in an assessment, fail to meet the jointly predetermined criteria.

12. A minimum of two experts are requested to issue a statement on the qualifications and merits of an individual on the tenure track prior to the individual’s selection to a professor’s position.

Where applicable, this instruction is to be used in research institutes as well.

Advice for individuals in the professor’s tenure track system

The universities each have launched their different tenure track systems. Both the number of levels in the tenure track as well as the titles vary from one university to another. The involvement of both external and internal evaluation in various levels has been determined in individual university based instructions. On the recruitment level, the universities may ask external evaluation regarding only those in the shortlist. On tenure, a selection procedure according to the Universities’ Act will be used.

Below you will find some general instructions:

  • Evaluation criteria: The criteria, through which your progress will be evaluated, should be specified in your job agreement. In some universities, there is a separate attachment regarding the evaluation criteria. The most common sections are research/artistic work, teaching, activity within the academic community, the procurement of research funding and management skills.

  • Job description: Make sure that you can take care of the tasks through which your evaluation takes place. The universities have prepared some general instructions regarding the direction of worktime throughout the various levels on the professor’s tenure track.

  • Position/status in the academic community: Find out which personnel group you belong to within the university.

  • Salary: The collective agreement is the so-called minimum agreement regarding your salary. Your salary according to the collective agreement may be increased, while not decreased, through the employment contract. Individuals in the professor’s tenure track system (not including Aalto University) belong to the universities’ salary system (YPJ).  When needed, you may contact the union regarding your salary.

  • Agreement regarding the immaterial property rights: see the union instructions