More Sociology Jobs

Job market for faculty positions in the discipline is improving, survey finds. But the openings may not match the top interests of new Ph.D.s

August 12, 2014

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

2008 499
2009 324
2010 427
2011 480
2012 507
2013 527

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
2. Education Criminal justice
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


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