Rebels without a job?
(Spoiler alert: inside-sociology post.)
(With clarifications marked as marked
The American Sociological Association’s Department of Research & Development has a new report out on the 2010 academic job market. It focuses mostly on the big news, overall trends and so on. I was more interested in the fate of different specializations.
The data are bound to be messy on this, since both jobs and candidates often include multiple specialties. But still, the report concludes that there are “several notable mismatches between the fields of interest of graduate students and the fields in which departmental searches are most common.”
You can look at their table yourself, on page 7, but since I prefer a different way of looking at it, I made these. The first figure is just the percentage of ads that listed an area (x-axis) versus the percentage of
applicants PhD candidates who listed the area in their ASA member profiles. The good news is the correlation is positive, at .37.
I condensed the area names, so sue me. I also color-coded them based on the ratio of demand (ads) to supply (apps), which isn’t obvious from the table or graph. All-caps red is Culture — where
apps PhD candidates’ percentage outnumbers ad percentage almost 3-to-1 (that is, 24% of PhD candidates list Culture as an area of interest, but 8% of ads list culture). Sex and gender is the next worst at 1.9-to-1. The best ratio is crime/deviance, which earned green type but not all caps, with a ratio of 1.7 jobs per applicant PhD candidate.
Back in June I made some graphs on the gender composition of sections – the organizations of sub-fields within sociology. Now we can see how the gender composition lines up with the supply-demand situation. (Remember these section compositions are for all section members, not just students.) Here are the sections I could match up reasonably well with the ad/app categories, with demand-over-supply on the x-axis versus gender composition. Areas on the right are smooth sailing for job seekers, those on the left are buyer’s markets for hiring departments (correlation = -.26)
It’s always worth checking, but it doesn’t seem like the main story is women crowding into areas with too many applicants per job, though maybe some of that.
Speculation: Maybe one predictor of poor job prospects is anti-establishment perspectives and (not coincidentally) external support, whether from research funding or non-sociology major teaching demand. That’s just stereotyping the difference between culture/sex-gender/inequalities graduate students versus quant/crim students. (Family and enviro are the ones that don’t fit my stereotypes there, but I’m flexible.)
Feel free to add your interpretations.