Sociologists on the job market are getting some encouraging news as they gather for the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco later this week. The job market is picking up and is now comfortably above the 2008 levels from which the market (as did those of many other disciplines) crashed as the recession hit.
According to a new report from the association, it listed 527 openings in 2013 either for assistant professor positions or open/multiple rank positions. That's up from 507 the year before and represents a significant gain from the post-recession fall.
Total Openings for Assistant Professor / Multiple Ranks in Sociology
The ASA report notes that not all academic jobs are listed with the association, so these figures do not represent every opening. But the general patterns of the job market, most experts agree, tend to be aligned with disciplinary listings. And these listings tend to be dominated by the openings for tenure-track assistant professor positions that are so important to new Ph.D.s.
To take advantage of the healthier job market, however, those new Ph.D.s may need to apply for jobs outside their primary research interests. The ASA report offers a comparison of the top sociological interests identified by graduate students in their membership identification forms, and the top areas of specialization listed in job announcements. As has been the case in recent years, crime rates high, with the top two areas identified in job announcements being crime/delinquency and criminal justice. In terms of graduate student interests, those rate 7th and 24th.
Here are the top 10 in both rankings
Graduate Student Interests vs. Job Openings in Sociology
|Rank||Grad Student Interest||Job Openings|
|1.||Sex and gender||Crime / delinquency|
|3.||Medical sociology||Human health|
|4.||Race, class and gender||Research methods|
|5.||Racial and ethnic relations||Quantitative methodology|
|6.||Cultural sociology||Racial and ethnic tensions|
|7.||Crime / delinquency||Global studies|
|8.||Environmental sociology||Environmental sociology|
|9.||Social psychology||Interdisciplinary studies|
|10.||Family||Sex and gender|