Fri, 3 Jun 1994 13:43:00 PDT

Blackwell writes:

"i compare that with britain, where my cousin who is a PhD biochemist.
when he finished his PhD, he was guaranteed a 2 year post-doctoral
fellowship from the government (at least as i understand his explanation).
although their economy is as shot as ours, he has never been unemployed
nor are any of his cronies from university days (including non

Biochemistry may be a good field for jobs in England, but for contrast ask
the archaeologists in England about job prospects--I was told that the ratio
of new PhD's to job positions is about 100:1.

One answer to the problem of not enough jobs is to cut down on the number of
PhD's being produced. We have the curious situation where we seem to expect
the number of jobs to equal the number of persons who pursue and then get a
PhD. Should the number of academic jobs reflect the number of PhD's
produced, or should the number of PhD's produced reflect the growth (or lack
thereof) of jobs in academia? The sense I get is that graduate students
begin with the assumption/expectation that they will get an academic job and
then begin to consider non-academic possibilities when the hard fact that
there are more PhD's produced in anthropology than positions available raises
its ugly head. Despite the dismal job market, the number of persons applying
for admission to our graduate department only increases and seems to bear no
relationship to the job situation, so the number of PhDs produced bears
little relationship to actual job opportunities.

I have students who have received their PhD's and written dissertations that
were considered excellent, yet cannot get academic jobs. In one case the
problem that John O'Brien mentioned occurred several times: despite the
advertisment, qualification as per the advertisement seemed to play little or
no role in the decision as to who was chosen. In one instance a famous
department let the position go rather than hire any of several persons highly
qualified for the position as it was advertised!

My counsel to my students is similar to what several people have posted here:
doing anthropology does not mean that you have to have an academic position.
There are alternative routes that can be followed, though the kind of
anthropology that can be pursued outside of academia may be of a different

But it does come back to basic demographics. The size of the academic job
market is not driven by the number of PhD's produced (though the
non-academic market is so driven to some extent via individuals convincing
employers that a PhD anthropologists has talents that may be particularly
useful for the kind of work in question), so should the supply of PhD's
reflect the (academic) job situation, or should it reflect (as now seems to
be the case) people's desire to become anthropologists? If the supply side
is driven by the latter, then the job situation will remain difficult,
frustrating and enraging as there is no reason to expect any major upsurge in
numbers of academic jobs that can even begin to absorb both new PhDs and the
large pool of PhD's without academic jobs who are still hoping to get an
academic position.

D. Read

i suspect that part of the reason the situation is so bad in canada
and the us, is that neither country puts nearly as much of its gnp into
education/research/development. germany and japan, sweden and many
other 1st world countries reinvest 5-7% of their gnp into E R&D,
while canada spends about 1% and as i recall the us about 3% (that
figure mayu be very out of date, but that is what it was in about

let's all lobby/cajole/demonstrate/strike for more of the gnp
to be put into E R&D, then maybe we would not be having this
discusision at all.