Academic Hiring: Year of No Jobs
For years, there’s been talk of a wave of Baby Boomer faculty retirements that would finally break the logjam that has made it difficult for newly minted PhDs to find jobs. The waiting continues:
Fulltime faculty jobs have not been easy to come by in recent decades, but this year the new crop of Ph.D. candidates is finding the prospects worse than ever. Public universities are bracing for severe cuts as state legislatures grapple with yawning deficits. At the same time, even the wealthiest private colleges have seen their endowments sink and donations slacken since the financial crisis. So a chill has set in at many higher education institutions, where partial or full-fledge hiring freezes have been imposed.
“This is a year of no jobs,” said Catherine Stimpson, the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University. Ph.D.s are stacked up, she said, “like planes hovering over La Guardia.”
Oh, and those old guys who were going to retire?
The anticipated wave of retirements by faculty members who are 60-something is likely to slow as retirement savings accounts and pensions wither, administrators and professors say. That means that some students who have finished postdoctoral fellowships and who expected to leave for faculty positions are staying put for another year, which in turn closes off an option for other graduate students coming up the ladder.
This particular set of issues was unpredictable but, alas, the general trend was. Even once the retirements finally happen, it’s unlikely that they’ll be replaced with tenure track hires. Rather, there will likely just be more people on the adjunct track.
There are, I hasten to add, ways of making a living other than teaching college.
UPDATE: There’s always law school, you say? Not so fast.
Photo by Flickr user stitching gremlin under Creative Commons license.