2012 sociology job market

If you are one of the twelve people who follow me on Twitter or one of the three people who follow the RSS feed for my website (Hi, mom!), you’ll know that I’ve been tracking the sociology job market this year. My method is pretty crude. I download all the job postings to the ASA Job Bank each month and count which ones have variations of the phrases “tenure track” and “assistant professor.”

As of the end of November, here’s what my monthly count of advertised tenure-track sociology jobs looks like:


By my count, 329 advertisements have been posted for these types of positions so far this year. This is up 5% from where we were last year, up 15% from 2010, and up a whopping 73% from 2009. That said, this year is down 8% from 2008, a year that was a horrible market according to a 2009 ASA study.

In prior years, about 80% of jobs that were going to be listed were posted by the end of November. Based on that, I estimate that we’ll come in at about 410 jobs this year, which is 15 jobs less than my forecast based on July, for those who care about that sort of thing.

My best guess is that this is about how many jobs we can expect to see posted in the coming years. I doubt we’ll see a surge in money for hiring in the social sciences given the current political and economic climate.


  1. Posted December 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m a little surprised to see any tenure-track jobs being posted February or later. Did you notice any difference between late postings and the July-October period?


    • Posted December 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Non-American schools are in, so that’s probably part of the story.


    • Posted December 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      I was surprised too. Made it tricky to decide when the start of the hiring season was.

      I haven’t really looked at the content of the advertisements, but I bet they skew towards smaller places and jobs in non-sociology departments.


      • Posted December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Non-American universities are another possibility. I’m assuming they are included in the sample?


    • Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Those ads are for the fifth tier or so, and many of our students from SIU do well in that market. They get teaching-focused jobs and maybe low pay, but they get real TT jobs, and usually in areas with a low cost of living. I think the ads tend to appear late in the sociology job cycle because sociology’s job cycle is early compared to most other disciplines (economics doesn’t even start interviewing until January), and because those schools are generally under tighter budget control so deans and provosts tend not to guarantee money for slots until what we in sociology think is late in the year.


  2. Posted December 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Schools that post later are typically non-PHD programs, often smaller schools or departments that are sociology-anthro and social science. It is not uncommon for students to get job offers in April and May.


  3. Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    My department’s position announcement (http://jobbank.asanet.org/jobbank/job_detail.cfm?jobid=8976) went live 11/29, and that required a considerable and concerted effort on the part of our chair to get everything done as quickly as possible. When I was hired, I applied in December, had my campus visit in late March, and received an offer in April. I had several other interviews on a similar schedule.


  4. Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Props for the xkcd ggplot theme.


    • Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I’m embarrassed to say the graph is 100% Stata. The silence of the Stata community to the early November xkcd-style graph craze and the hassle it is to produce these in Stata might be what finally pushes me to R side.


      • krippendorf
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, because labeling the vertical axis is *so* 2010.


      • Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        I assumed you traced the squiggly lines by hand. That would be cool. Otherwise I’m not so sure.


      • Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Sorry to disappoint you Philip but the squiggles are a computer-generated jitter after interpolating points between each month. Humor Sans font. Default axis turned off and drawn with pcbarrow and scatteri for the y title. Legend is ring(0) position(2).

        I made the original version of the graph in early November after the Randall Munroe style had already been successfully ported to ggplot2 for r and matplotlib for Python. The Stata version implementation needs work, but I think I’ve done all I can do.



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