SCS Newsletter - August 2021 (Placement Report)

Society for Classical Studies Placement Service Data and Analysis (2020-2021)

(Pre-Report Note: Three academic years ago was the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR, which cover all EU citizens. The SCS is firmly committed to the protection of all its members' data, and has taken steps to become GDPR compliant. This has made it impossible for us to make mandatory the collection of demographic, personal, and career-related information from our members that has for years helped us get a sense of the field and then relay that information back to members in media such as this report.

Please, if you intend to join the Placement Service this upcoming year, consider filling out the voluntary information requested. Doing so will ensure that the SCS and the field as a whole have a clear picture of the job market in order to best respond to our challenges and track our successes.)

Introduction

This report details the past academic year in the SCS Placement Service. We have exported all data directly from the Placement Service portion of our website (classicalstudies.org), and most of it is self-reported by the candidates and hiring institutions that filled out their profiles and placed job ads. The data are incomplete in places, contradictory in others, but are, on the whole, the most comprehensive picture of jobs data for Classics in North America for this year.

You can use for personal analysis the data in the Excel documents that accompany this report and from the midterm data gathered last March. All data used in this report were downloaded on Monday, July 1st, 2021. Confidential information has been removed, and some data analysis that requires the use of confidential information has been presented in this report, but the raw data are not supplied to the report’s audience. This includes – but is not limited to – information from both this and the mid-term Placement report.

Any and all questions, comments, and concerns about this data should be addressed to info@classicalstudies.org.

The Advertisements

In sum, there were 91 job advertisements on the Placement Service this year. These were placed by 78 institutions, departments, organizations, and programs.

The figure of 91 job advertisements compares to the following years as such: 135 in 20219-2020, 149 in 2018-2019, 145 in 2017-2018, 146 in 2016-2017, 140 in 2015-2016. Do note that the number of advertisements placed on the Placement Service does not equate to the number of jobs available. Occasionally a single job ad will list multiple job openings. This obvious blip in an otherwise relatively stable five years of jobs is undoubtedly caused by the hiring freezes during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be worth watching how those numbers change this following year; the Placement Service will be looking specifically at whether this year will see a large bump in the total number of jobs (to compensate for frozen positions) or if the number will remain steady, perhaps indicating that some of the frozen faculty lines were dropped. We encourage anyone who has insight on the latter scenario to contact the Placement Service so we can track it. There will also undoubtedly be longer term effects on the job market caused by department and program closures and the elimination of faculty lines as a result of those closures.

For the past two years, we have noted the terms for job “Rank” (e.g. “Assistant Professor,” “Associate Professor,” etc.) no longer track consistently with the classification of that job as being tenure-track or contingent. Since the “Other” rank is the second-most used this year (25% of all jobs, second only to “Assistant Professor”), we decided to present the data for "Type" in the paragraph below rather than the data for "Rank."

Overall, 71% of all jobs placed on the Service this year were considered contingent, meaning they are classified by the hiring institution as non-tenure track, adjunct, or part-time positions. This compares to 54% in 2019-2020, 62% in 2018-2019, 57% in 2017-2018 and 62% in academic year 2016-2017. 22% of jobs were tenured or tenure-track, down 18% from last year. As in previous years, there is no classification for non-tenure track positions that could turn into a tenure-track position, though some advertisements stated this possibility explicitly in the body of the ad. This year saw a dramatic increase in the percentage of jobs that were considered contingent and posted last-minute. This is mostly owing to the fact that 1) hiring institutions were (and are) trying to assess whether a position will be needed in the next year's academic environment (e.g. will we have fewer classes, remote classes, etc.), and 2) that there were just fewer tenure-track jobs posted during the hiring freezes.

46% of all ads indicated the need for a Generalist in the Job Speciality field. This tracks with yearly trends suggesting that institutions are foregoing traditional subfield searches (e.g. Latin Verse, Greek History) for either a Generalist or for a custom-written field specialization (e.g. Ancient Medicine, Roman Egypt).

Hiring data will be trickling in over the next few months. As always, updates will be posted to https://classicalstudies.org/placement/hiring-data-positions-classics.

The Job Candidates

As always, caution must be applied to the following numbers. Not everyone filling out a candidate profile will have been on the job market this year, so their experience might not be representative of all candidates looking for jobs.

Basic demographics have held steady from the January survey, including sex, race, citizenship, marital status, and other categories compared to the mid-term report. 271 candidates filled out candidate profiles, compared to 300 last year.

Candidates who are currently contingent faculty continue to make up the majority of candidates in the Placement Service (51%, down 6% from last year). Graduate students make up the next largest population at nearly half of that number (28%).

Final Notes

Also important to our continued monitoring of the academic job market are long-term, third-party analyses that draw on multiple sources of information. Most recent is an article in Mouseion, and available via Project Muse, by Simeon Ehrlich titled "The Health of the Classics Job Market during the Pandemic: A Long-Term Perspective." Critical takeaways include our own acknowledgement of the production of Classics Ph.D.s compared to the job market offerings, as well as the rise of temporary adjunct positions over long-term tenured faculty jobs. Also helpful is the analysis of how recessions over the past two decades have affected the job market in the years following the recession's recovery. We are excited to see this kind of research being done in concert with the SCS's own data gathering; the more complete our picture of the market is, the more we'll be able to identify potential solutions and policies. 

Due to the anticipated scarcity of jobs for this past year we at the Placement Service started the Career Development Seminars, a series of talks by former classicists who are now professionals in their respective fields. These fields included developement, consulting, nonprofit work, law, higher education administration, education technology, and more. These seminars offered advice on hard job search skills as well as insights on specific career paths. The seminars were relatively well received. Attendance was not always consistent, and some topics enjoyed more support than others. In our post-year analysis of the Seminars we determined that it is still difficult for most faculty and students in the academic setting to fit a conception of non-academic employment into their daily routine or future planning, as the culture of graduate departments and academic training generally does not allow much for it. We are working on educational and praxis-focused workshops and training for university faculty and staff on how these things could be implemented at the institutional level, and hope to continue this critical work in the coming year.

We hope to continue the Seminars on a once montly schedule this upcoming academic year, and will continue to work hard to promote all job opportunities open to classicists so that graduates have every available opportunity open and accessible to them. The seminars for this year will be open to all, and I encourage you to keep an eye on the Newsletter for RSVP information.

As always we encourage you to send thoughts, comments, and suggestions to the Placement Coordinator (erik.shell@nyu.edu).

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