Re: Academic Combat and Jobs

wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Thu, 2 Jun 1994 16:13:17 -0600

A comment on the job situation in anthropology. In the latest Human
Organization there is an exhaustive analysis of job placments in the
discipline over the last 30 years. The proportion of new PhDs receiving
full time academic appointments has gone up dramatically in the last few
years. Similarly, in 1990 78% of academic anthropologist PhDs got jobs
closely related to their training, compared with about 50% in 1981 (the
year I got my PhD). The total numbers of PhDs per year has been
declining (367 in 1992, compared with 422 in 1981).

For my 1981 cohort, about 48% had found an avcademic job within 5 years.
57% of the 1990 Phds has academic positions in 1990. To me this looks
like a significant improvement.

(M. Baba, The Fifth Subdiscipline, 1994 Human Org. 53(2):174-185.

I can't comment on the quality of your advising as a graduate student.
It happens that the wave of retirements and early deaths has begun, but
it coincides with a serious recession that has hit state University
budgets very hard. Most Universities are squeezing existing faculty for
more work, cutting class oferrings, and hoping to get to replace the
missing ranks when the economy looks up.

I know this is not much consolation. But imagine - when I entered grad
school in 1974, everyone who was graduating was getting jobs and even
multiple offers. The market collapsed the year I took my comprehensive
exams, and by the time I got my degree there was a huge bulge of
unemployed people with huge CVs and job experience ahead of me....I
couldn't get a job in applied anthropology either. Out of 25 in my
entering grad school class, I am the only one teaching in an
anthropology department as regular faculty today! (Not that I don't envy
a number of my friends who left and found something more interesting and
stable!) To some extent the problems with the job market today are still
a product of the continuing underemployment of the "lost generation"
from 1981-85 - many of us are still looking for work or to improve our
positions, willing to take entry-level jobs away from new PhDs, just to
get somewhere where we can teach what we want, or have graduate students
to work with....

Rick Wilk