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(By the SCS Office)

2018 Mid-term Placement Service Report

Placement Service Data (midway through the 2017-2018 academic year)

As we did last year, we are releasing a set of preliminary data from the SCS Placement Service. This data includes numbers from the beginning of the Placement season in late Summer of 2017 up to March 8th, when the Placement Service data was last downloaded.

Below is a summary of our findings for an at-a-glance sense of how things went. You can download the full set of de-identified data here.

Placement Service Candidate Profiles [Assessed as of March 6, 2018]

There were 455 candidates who filled out candidate profiles on our website this year with at least their names. This is up markedly from the 338 respondents from last year. Percentages below refer to the number of people who answered the demographic questions asked, not the percentage of 455 total possible respondents who could have answered.

Judging by the most common attributes in each category, the average Placement Service candidate is a married (45.9%), white (88.6%), male (56.6%), US Citizen (76.8%), with his Ph.D. from University of Michigan (6.3%). He is currently a full-time non-tenure track teacher (42.4%) researching Latin literature (29.7%), and using the Placement Service for the first time (25.8%) to apply for 11-20 jobs (25.80%). He has published 1-2 articles (33.4%) but has not yet published a book (74.9%).

Compared to last year, adjunct job seekers (54%) have outpaced graduate students (36%) as the most populous category in terms of current employment status.

The spread of how many jobs people applied for was much more even this year. Where, last year, 43% only applied for 1-5 jobs, about a quarter of the candidates applied to the following categories almost equally this year:

  1. 1-5 jobs
  2. 6-10 jobs
  3. 11-20 jobs
  4. Over 20 jobs

The gender distribution of the Placement Service (56% men – 44% women) trends a little more toward an even split than does SCS membership as a whole (60% men – 40% women).

The number of full-time non-tenure track and part-time adjunct (i.e. contingent) faculty made up 53.7% of the job market. Graduate students made up 23.4% of the market.

As for the jobs themselves, there were, as of March 6th, 68 contingent faculty positions (adjunct/part-time, and non-tenure track, up to and above 12 months) and 52 tenure-track or tenured positions posted on the Placement Service. At 120 total jobs, this is already coming close to approaching the final numbers from last year (146 jobs), and the number of tenure-track jobs has gone up from 47 last year to 56 this year, a 19% increase. We will see next year if this trend continues.

There are also notable gender disparities on some of the other criteria. Twice as many male candidates are married or in a long-term relationship as women (149 compared to 78). Men vastly outnumber women in most of the largest research specializations: Latin Literature (82 to 51), Roman History (49 to 21), and Greek History (25 to 6). More male students are grad students (62 to 43) and adjuncts (32 to 16) than women. All of these disparities outpace the 60%-40% men-to-women split in SCS membership. Married and long-term partnered candidates are also almost twice as likely to have published any number of articles as single people, likely due to the fact that older people are more likely to be partnered, and so have longer to publish.

Post-Meeting Placement Survey, Candidates (175 respondents, 87 providing detailed responses)

The gender distribution of the survey almost exactly matches that of the candidate profiles (56.0% for the survey, 56.6% for the profiles).

When asked if they intend to pursue employment outside of teaching at the college level, after “I don’t know yet,” the most popular choice was academic administration (20.48%), followed by secondary education and museum/library work tied for second (16.87%).

Post-Meeting Placement Service Survey, Institutions (20 respondents out of 30 possible)

The number of institutions and candidates who needed to use Skype this year for interviews increased across the board, likely because of the difficult weather

Most (75%) of institutions cite the importance of in-person interaction as a reason why they interview at the annual meeting.

Interviews at the Annual Meeting

Note: these numbers are pre-snow storm. In other words, they indicate what the numbers would have been if there had not been so many cancelations and difficult traveling conditions. We still see this information as insightful, as it gives candidates and institutions a sense of how searches are conducted, at what scope, and the state of the job market.

31 institutions (30 plus the SCS TLL Fellowship) interviewed at the annual meeting, up from 22 from last year.

The average shortlist size was exactly 12 – the same as last year – with the shortest being 5 and the longest being 19.

Of the 455 who filled out their candidate profile, 212 got interviews at the annual meeting (46.6%).

80 candidates (37.7%) had more than one interview at the meeting, with six being the highest number of interviews for one person.

Networking Event

This year, in response to changes in the job market in higher education for Classicists and in concert with the priorities of the past three SCS Presidents, the SCS hosted a Career Networking event at the annual meeting. This event brought together current Classics Ph.D. students and adjuncts with former Classics Ph.D.s who are not working in traditional higher education positions. Their backgrounds were varied, stretching from high school teaching to business, from finance to entrepreneurship, from data to think-tanks.

Attendance for this event was lively and engaged, and well-received by both the networkers and attendees. As such, we will be continuing this event for San Diego in the hopes that members can be better informed about the career options open to them.

Final Notes

More data about the job market will be made available at the end of the Placement Service year, which coincides with the end of the academic year. It is worth noting that already, before the end of the job season, tenure-track jobs are outpacing last year by a significant amount. Overall jobs posted this year are also trending higher than last year.

If you have any suggestions for the data that you would like to see or the way in which these data are presented, please contact or reach out to the Placement Serivice coordinator Erik Shell at

Comments and Responses

Here are some responses to some of the frequently asked questions that come from Placement subscribers in the annual survey.

These are chosen for their impact and frequency, and direct quotes represent an actual comment received on from the Survey, but should be considered representative of many more comments that aren’t included.

  • “I did hear a rumor that institutions were being encouraged [by the SCS] not to contact candidates directly about wanting to interview them…”
    • We’re unsure where this rumor came from and it surfaces often but it is false. The decision to contact candidates is left to each individual hiring institution. Whether an institution decides to notify their short-list Candidates before the Placement Service schedules interviews is not the SCS’s decision, but stems from institutionally- or departmentally-specific policies.
  • “I'd like to see the SCS create and enforce guidelines about acceptable application requirements”
    • These recommendations exist in the form of our Placement Service Guidelines. As mentioned above, however, departments have their own requirements at the departmental, administrative, and institutional levels that differ wildly between institutions, and the SCS can only do so much in regulating and standardizing that process.
  • “You should make sure the schools are setting up Skype in a way that doesn't create disadvantages for those candidates”
    • Our Career Planning and Development Committee are working on Skype interview guidelines to assist departments and search committees in this way. These should be available publicly by the next academic year’s job season.
  • “General support for automatically publicly available ads, emails for when interviews are scheduled, and increased searchability in the public jobs list.”
    • We’re glad these new features were appreciated. They will most definitely be continuing into the future.
  • “It would be much appreciated if more institutions conducted first-round interviews through services such as Skype”
    • We hear this suggestion a lot, and understandably so. Travel to the annual meeting can be difficult for many. As we mentioned above, however, interview decisions are, by and large, the decision of the hiring institution. The Placement Service merely exists to facilitate what is demanded.
That said, it is worth noting that the departments who do choose to interview at the annual meeting have reported a desire for the practice to continue, often for reasons that benefit candidates. It allows for some candidates, who are perhaps on the lower end of the interview list, to outshine their peers by the way they conduct themselves in person, the strength of a paper they give, or the general congeniality gained from personal interaction at the meeting. When the job in question is a tenure-track line these aspects of the search are especially critical, because they facilitate a more holistic evaluation of candidates that includes individual qualities as well as achievements recorded on a CV.
  • “Though my interview was not rescheduled, I witnessed several people struggle to reschedule theirs, with emails to SCS employees going unanswered while said employees were seen at the opening night reception socializing”
    • I (Erik) wanted take time to address this. It’s worth noting that there are no other “SCS employees” in the plural when it comes to Placement scheduling. Every rescheduling email comes to me, and I received hundreds of them the opening night of the Meeting. I wanted to apologize for not getting to them all, as they were coming in faster than I could respond, and so took a one-hour break from email to fulfill the requirement that all SCS staff attend at least a portion of the Opening Night Reception. To accommodate rescheduing, I opened the Placement office earlier, although not all candidates found the extended hours adequate. I will try to have a better disaster plan for unexpected weather during the Meeting in the future.

More May 2018 Newsletter Content

Update yourself on the SCS GDPR policy and Placement Service changes

Participate in the SCS member survey on benefits

Photo Credits for May, 2018 Newsletter

- “Llaves
Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0