Journal of Social Marketing, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017.
Purpose 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 article analyses 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. Design/methodology/approach 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. Findings Results indicate that upon graduation most graduates secured full-time jobs, where about 66% worked in higher education while 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 US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. Overall levels of international mobility and research collaboration are relatively low. Originality/value This is arguably the first study to examine the career paths of social marketing doctoral graduates.