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2003-2004 Report of the Joint Committee on Placement
Division of Professional Matters of the American Philological Association

This annual report deals with issues that will not be covered in the triennial report of the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups. Supporting tables and figures are linked to the report; printable versions of this report, all placement tables for 2003-2004, and all placement figures for 2003-2004 are also available in separate Acrobat files.

The Status of the Job Market

In 2003-2004, 124 institutions registered with the Placement Service. Of these, only 52 (42%) used the Service not only to advertise their positions but also to schedule interviews during the convention, down from 45% the previous year; 29 (23%) published ads after the convention; and 43 (35%) either did not attend the convention or scheduled their own interviews (see Table 3). By not signing up for the Placement Service's comprehensive service (central scheduling and use of interview facilities), these institutions saved the comparatively small sum of $200. For the future, they may want to consider that they not only complicated the scheduling process for everyone involved, they also ran the risk of alienating their top applicants. On our surveys after the convention, job candidates regularly complain about problems with individual scheduling and about the inappropriate interviewing sites some of these institutions choose, such as hotel bars.

362 candidates were registered with the Placement Service in 2003-2004 (57% male and 43% female), about the same number as the previous year (359). The gender breakdown is also comparable to earlier years (60/40% in 2002-2003 and 57/43% in 2001-2002, see Figure 1). Of these 362 candidates, only 292 (81%) actually attended the 2004 Annual Meeting. The gender breakdown of attendees (59% male; 41% female) was again similar to earlier years (see Table 2).

The number of advertised positions continued to fall for the second year in a row. In 2003-2004, a total of 165 positions were advertised (155 definite, 10 possible). If we add only 2/3 of the possible positions to the number of definite positions, this means that there was an estimated total of 162 vacancies (compared to 173 the previous year). Despite this drop in available positions, however, the job market, which peaked at 197 vacancies in 2001-2002, is still far better than in the mid-1990s.

The ratio of candidates (362) to estimated vacancies (162) was 2.23. This ratio is less positive than last year’s 2.08 and the 1.82 ratio of 2001-2002 but still better than it was at most times during the last twenty years (see Table 1).

In addition to tracking interviews, the Joint Committee on Placement also compiles statistics on hiring. Thus we know that not all advertised positions were filled and not all positions that were filled went to Placement Service candidates. As a consequence, the relatively positive ratios mentioned above appear not quite as good when we look at the numbers of candidates registered with the Placement Service who were actually hired.

Figure 6 charts the outcomes of all searches advertised in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. In 2003-2004, we were able to ascertain the outcome of 163 searches. In two cases, however, even persistent follow-up with the advertising institutions did not yield a response. Of the 163 searches whose outcome was known, only 137 (84%) were filled by classicists (11 were canceled or not filled, 6 searches are ongoing, and 9 positions went to people in other fields). These numbers are slightly better than in 2002-2003 (135 or 75% of all advertised positions), but considerably lower than the 161 viz.163 advertised positions filled by classicists in the two years before.

If we include not only the 146 positions advertised with the Placement Service that were filled but also unadvertised hires reported to APA and AIA and information about hires reported on the candidates' survey, we get a fuller picture of the actual job market in Classics. In 2003-2004, we learned about a total of 163 hires of classicists. Of these, 151 hires were announced by name to the AIA and APA, and 12 additional positions were indicated anonymously on the candidates' survey (see Tables 15A and 15B ). This compares to 175 hires in 2002-2003, 167 in 2001-2002, and 209 in 2000-2001.

A significant percentage of these positions, 65 or 40%, were obtained by classicists who were not enrolled with the Placement Service (see Figure 7). This compares to 49 (28%) in 2002-2003, 47 (28%) in 2001-2002, and 66 (32%) in 2000-2001. Of all candidates registered with the Placement Service, only 98 (27% of all candidates, 34% of all attendees) were successful in finding new academic employment (see Table 15A). Matching all known hires of Placement Service registrants against the number of registered candidates yields a ratio of 3.69. Comparable ratios for previous years are 2.85 in 2002-2003, 2.99 in 2001-2002 and 2.48 in 2000-2001. Of the 163 positions whose status is known, 73 were tenure-track positions (up from only 66 in 2002-2003); 24 of these went to individuals not registered with the Placement Service. That means, that only 14% of registered candidates or 17% of registered attendees obtained tenure-track positions. Thus, the ratio of Placement Service candidates to tenure-track positions obtained by these candidates was only 7.39. In comparison, in previous years these ratios were 7.04 (2002-2003), 7.18 (2001-2002), and 6.12 (2000-2001).

While these numbers paint a rather bleak picture overall, the statistics also suggest that it pays off for candidates to register with the Placement Service. 74% of all assistant professor and 67% of all associate professor positions filled in 2003-2004 went to Placement Service candidates (Table 15B). All 16 full professor positions on offer were filled with non-registered candidates. Despite this fact, Placement Service candidates still obtained 62% of all tenure-track positions overall (Table 15A). Thus, more desirable positions below the rank of full professor predominantly go to Placement Service candidates.

Employment Status of Candidates

As Table 5A indicates, 111 (31%) of the 362 candidates in 2003-2004 were graduate students. A further 13% did not indicate academic employment (2% were employed outside of academia, 3% were unemployed, and 8% did not respond to the question). The remaining candidates all had some form of academic employment: 108 (30%) in full-time temporary positions, 47 (13%) in part-time positions, 30 (8%) in full-time tenure-track positions, 12 (3%) in tenured positions, and 7 (2%) in full-time pre-college teaching. Thus nearly half of the 362 candidates (43%) were struggling in temporary college teaching positions. Unsurprisingly, these groups also tended to apply for the most positions: 61% of those in full-time temporary positions applied for over 10 jobs and 32% of those in part-time positions did so. The only other groups with high rates of job applications were graduate students (47% of whom applied for more than 10 jobs) and the unemployed (50%). For applicants under 40, more applications tended to generate more interviews (see Table 7B). A high number of publications, however, did not necessarily guarantee more interviews (see Table 13C).

Graduate students faired best in their quest for employment, with 38% gaining new positions (13% tenure-track), followed by those with full-time temporary positions at 33% new positions (22% tenure-track). Of part-time faculty, 21% obtained new positions (11% tenure-track);13% of all full-time tenure-track faculty similarly secured new positions but only 10% managed to get another tenure-track job. Finally, only 2 of the individuals who indicated that they were previously unemployed found academic employment (17%, 8% tenure-track); see Table 5B. Almost all of these percentages are slightly lower than in 2002-2003; the distribution of new positions over the different kinds of employment categories, however, has remained the same.


Of the 292 Placement Service candidates who attended the meeting, the largest group were US citizens (71%), followed by US residents (8%) and Canadian citizens (5%). Non-North-American nationals holding degrees from foreign institutions made up 5% of the field, while non-North-American nationals with degrees from US institutions made up 4%. Table 10A indicates the average number of interviews obtained by each of these groups, broken down by number of job applications, with US residents obtaining the highest interview rate (3.5), followed by Canadian citizens (3.3). In terms of actual hires (Table 10B), US citizens secured the most positions (72; 34 tenure-track). Still, that means that only 28% of all candidates with US citizenship actually found employment. Foreign-born US residents, who gained 10 positions (4 tenure-track), were comparatively more successful since 42% of these applicants were hired. Canadian citizens, 41% of whom found a job, fared equally well, with 6 tenure-track and 1 temporary position. In contrast, only 14% of all non-North-American nationals with foreign degrees got a job, but all of these three positions were tenure track. Non-North-American nationals with US degrees did only slightly better: 17% found employment, one a temporary job, one a tenure-track position. Another 4 positions (1 tenure-track) went to candidates who refused to answer the question about their citizenship. Unfortunately, while these statistics are able to show trends, they are far from comprehensive since we do not have any such information about the considerable number of successful candidates (65 or 40%) who did not register with the Placement Service.

Year of Doctorate and Doctoral Institution

A high proportion of candidates attending the 2004 Annual Meeting either expected their Ph.D in 2004 (89, or 30%) or had received it in 2003 (61, or 21%). Other degree years were represented as follows: 2002: 25 candidates (9%); 2001: 18 (6%); 2000: 13 (4%); 1999: 12 (4%). The degrees of 9% of registered candidates went further back; 8% gave no response. As one would expect, candidates who had graduated two years before the convention and had probably gathered some teaching experience in the meantime had a slight advantage. These 2002 graduates obtained on average 3.4 interviews, as opposed to 2.6 interviews for 2003 Ph.D.s and 2.4 interviews for A.B.D.s who expected their Ph.D. in 2004. A number of candidates with earlier degrees, however, were even more successful than many recent Ph.D.s, except that the numbers are too small to be statistically relevant. Table 8A shows interview rates by year of candidate's doctorate and number of job applications; Table 8B provides information about hires. Larger institutions typically dominated the lists of interview and hiring rates for their students (see Table 9A for interview rates and Table 9C for hiring information; Table 9B and Table 9D show the top institutions according to average number of interviews and hires). For purposes of comparison, Tables 9A and 9B include statistics from previous years.

Association Membership and Placement Service Use

Table 14A presents interview rates broken down by association membership, and Table 14B presents hiring data. As in 2001-2002, APA members had a clear advantage both in average number of interviews and in hiring rates. Whereas AIA members obtained an average of only 1.2 interviews, APA members had an interview rate of 2.9. Joint members of both associations scored on average 1.1 interviews. In 2002-2003, however, AIA members had actually fared better than everyone else, with 3.1 interviews in comparison to 2.8 for APA members and 1.7 for members of both associations. In another marked difference to 2002-2003, fewer candidates in each category found new employment in 2003-2004: 22% of AIA members were hired, but only 10% were offered tenure-track positions. Members of both associations got positions at the rate of 26% (11% tenure-track), members of the APA alone at the rate of 28% (15% tenure-track).

Figure 8 provides a graphic breakdown of the percentage of candidates according to their employment status at the time of enrollment and their previous use of the Placement Service. Table 14C analyzes interview rates according to the number of times candidates had previously used the Placement Service; those who had registered with the Service once before obtained the most interviews (3.0), closely followed by those who had been on the market twice (2.8) or three-times before (2.7). First-time applicants had an interview rate of 2.2, while veteran job seekers (4 or more previous searches) had a rate of 1.7.

Table 14D shows a similar pattern in hiring rates, with 39% of two-time users of the Placement Service obtaining new academic positions, closely followed by first-time users with 30%. Only 8% of new applicants, however, obtained tenure-track jobs, while 23% of two-time users and 17% of those who had used the Service three-times did so.

In conclusion, the job market for classicists continues to be a buyer’s market. In the last two years, academic positions have become even harder to come by. At the same time, the situation for job candidates is still considerably better than it was in the mid-nineties. In 1994-1995, for example, there were only 122 vacancies compared to the 165 positions advertised in 2003-2004. It remains crucial, however, that we continue to monitor the situation carefully. The Joint Committee on Placement has gathered these data over the last decades to provide both institutions and job candidates with an accurate picture of the job market in Classics. This information shows job candidates what they have to offer in order to compete successfully in a tight job market. It also assists doctoral programs in the preparation and placement of recent graduates. Finally, it gives advisors at four-year colleges a helpful tool to discuss the employment opportunities in Classics with potential graduate students.

In view of this, the Committee calls on both institutions and candidates to support our efforts to gather comprehensive and accurate statistics about placement and hiring. Unfortunately, the high number of job seekers who do not register with the Placement Service hinders this worthwhile endeavour. Thus, the Placement Committee strongly urges job-seekers to enroll with the Placement Service and encourages Graduate Programs to remind their students of the benefits and protections provided by the Service. Placement Service candidates are the first to be notified of positions, they enjoy convenient central scheduling of interviews, and they are interviewed in professional interviewing facilities (as opposed to hotel bars and bedrooms). The more complete and precise our statistics, the more helpful they will be to institutions and individuals as they plan for the future.

Report submitted by Ortwin Knorr (Willamette University)
on behalf of the Joint Committee on Placement
APA Division of Professional Matters
April 2005