A survey of university recruitment has produced an Identikit profile of the strongly internationalised professor.
S/he is young (between 30 and 35 years old), a professor of management or engineering, speaks perfect English and possesses a doctorate, according to the study by Noir sur Blanc, a Paris-based public relations consultancy.
Some 71.2 per cent of professors who responded to the survey have worked abroad or plan to.
The United States and Europe are the two most valued destinations - Asia is not a preferred destination for European or American professors.
The desire to work abroad varies noticeably depending on country of origin. Almost 97 per cent of French academics wished to teach abroad, compared with 90 per cent in Canada and 82 per cent in the United States. For 81.3 per cent, having significant resources for their research was an important or very important motivation for teaching abroad. Subsidiary factors are the attraction of the country (77.7 per cent), the influence of the institution (75.7 per cent), and its reputation (74.1 per cent).
Salaries are a secondary issue - 50.4 per cent said that it was of little importance. "Direct material success is only secondary as a measure of success in an academic world where the influence of ideas is considered more important," the report concludes.
Academics attached the highest priority to the conditions that can help their research. Teaching was secondary.
"This makes it necessary for the universities to agree to important material investments, in particular to those that concern 'pure' sciences, but also for human and social sciences," the report says.