Academic Job Market in Sociology Shows Signs of Rebounding

August 06, 2013

Academic job openings for new sociology Ph.D.'s last year finally edged past the number of positions available just before the recession hit, according to a job-market report released on Tuesday by the American Sociological Association.

According to the report, a total of 507 assistant-professor, open-rank, and multiple-rank jobs were advertised in the association's job bank in 2012, compared with 499 of those positions in 2008. Most of the advertisements were for assistant professors, and the number of positions listed for that rank was up 9 percent from the year before. The total number of jobs listed in 2012 was up by 5.6 percent from 2011.

Among the searches conducted for advertised positions in 2012, 84 percent resulted in a hire, about the same as the hire rate of 83 percent in 2011.

The report also showed that there was a mismatch between what institutions wanted new hires to specialize in and the academic areas that graduate students said they were interested in when responding to the association's membership form. Social control, law, crime, and deviance, for example, was the most-sought-after area of specialty, based on job ads, but graduate students ranked it fourth. The area of social psychology and interaction was ranked first by graduate students, but it was the 13th-most-popular area of specialization requested in job ads.

The association said in its report that the directors of graduate sociology programs might want to note such differences as they guide their students in choosing academic careers.