The American Sociological Association has released an analysis showing a 22.8 percent decline in announced position openings between 2006 and 2008. The analysis is based on listings in the association's job bank in the two years compared. Because there are many jobs that aren't listed in the job bank, the totals can't be seen as definitive. But because the job bank does receive a significant number of listings from year to year, the trends in postings are seen as a good reflection of trends in disciplinary hiring, especially for assistant professor positions.
The job bank receives more assistant professor openings than any other kind -- and that category of listing, the category crucial to new Ph.D.'s, is down by nearly 40 percent.
The best news in the survey was a sharp increase -- from 37 to 164 -- in the number of positions for which no one faculty rank is specified.
The association report notes that things could be even worse. Associations that have tracked the status of job listings months later have found that many searches were called off. Here is such a list in economics. The sociology association plans a survey of departments to find out how many searches were called off, so that a subsequent report can provide a more full picture of the job market.
Here are the data available now.
Postings in American Sociological Association Job Bank
|Type of Position||2006||2008||% Change|
|Open search or more than one rank||37||164||+343.2%|