Philosophy Jobs Per AOS, 2016-17
Over at The Philosophers’ Cocoon, Marcus Arvan (Tampa) reports on the number of jobs advertised over the past year per Area of Specialization (AOS).
There were 446 jobs advertised. Of those, 204 were tenure-track positions. These TT jobs were distributed across specialty groupings as follows:
- Value Theory = 68 jobs (33%)
- Open: 36 jobs (17.6%)
- History: 25 jobs (12.3%)
- Core (mind, language, metaphysics, epistemology, logic) = 22 jobs (10%)
- Science (including cog. sci) = 15 jobs (7%)
(Note that a job with multiple AOS will count, in the appropriate fraction, towards those multiple AOS categories, e.g., a job that lists AOS: Ethics or Logic will add .5 to “Value Theory” and .5 to “Core”.)
Professor Arvan provides a detailed breakdown of these numbers, and does the same for non-tenure-track positions as well, here.
FWIW, 446 jobs is just slightly more jobs than the total number of people employed by the mid-sized specialty print company I work for, in London. That’s one company in a veritable SEA of tech-related independent businesses out here, in the “real world”. Figure out a way to relate your research to either computing or the internet somehow, and the pie will get bigger for you.Report
I actually think his framing buries the lede a bit.
This is stark data about tenure-track jobs in the last job cycle that should be shown to all those considering graduate school in philosophy. It also seems it should inform both how graduate programs decide on class balance (to they extent they consider area) and how graduate students think about what they will be able to claim as an AOS.
A more controversial claim: it should also inform faculty hiring decisions.
Here’s a fuller picture of the data about TT jobs (adding in a few categories that Marcus doesn’t break out):
Total Tenure-Track Jobs = 204
Value: 68 (33%)
History: 25 (12.3%)
Mind, Language, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Logic: 22 (10%)
Science (including cog. sci): 15 (7%)
Philosophy of Race, Feminist Philosophy: 13 (6.4%)
Non-Western: 11 (5.4%)
Continental: 11 (5.4%)
Open: 36 (17.6%)
The many jobs in Value is not news. What I think is surprising is that there were more jobs in the combination of Race, Feminism, and Non-Western than there were in all of Mind, Language, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Logic combined. One would not know this from looking at, for example, the concentration and distribution of resources at top-30 PGR departments.
I think we are leading a lot of talented PhD students astray when we encourage them in writing dissertations (even in the ‘hot’ areas) in Mind, Language, Metaphysics, and Epistemology without also developing a credible AOS in other areas. There will be jobs for a few of them. But not for most of them.
But of course most top-30 PGR departments don’t have faculty (and certainly not enough to go around) who could help them develop an actual AOS in Philosophy of Race, Feminism, or Non-Western philosophy, even if they wanted to…Report
The number we need now is how many people are applying for jobs.Report
It’s very hard to figure out, of course, including who ought to count (should we count those who apply to just 1-3 jobs?). But one estimate looks at how many applications there are to open AOS assistant professor positions. I recall that a couple of years ago, a middle-third PGR-ranked dept had such an opening, and got nearly 600 applications (another higher PGR-ranked dept got between 300-400). Such a number will include some applying from fixed-term posts (i.e., not currently completing their PhD), and also some in TT posts possibly seeking lateral moves; including such better captures the total applicant pool, at least for assistant rank positions.
Of course, that number won’t include people who decided not to apply for that particular position, so the total number of those applying (to several jobs) is surely much higher than 600.Report
What we need is a breakdown of how many people are graduating each year in each of the specialities. I.e. how many people graduated in 2015-16 with epistemology as their primary AOS? How many in feminist philosophy? Etc.
This info. is crucial. Not only would it help grad. students choosing what to specialise in, it would also help faculties in choosing which applicants to admit as grad students.Report
Perhaps one way to get *roughly* the number of people applying for these jobs is to crowdsource the question to people who were on search committees this year. Search committee members stand in the privileged position of knowing how many people applied for the job they listed. So for instance, if your school posted a TT job with an AOS in Metaphysics, then the number of applicants for that job would be at least a rough ballpark figure of how many people out there are applying for jobs in each specialty.Report
A potentially easier way to get the information would be to just crowdsource job-candidates to share their ‘PFO’/rejection letters. Those letters often give a figure stating how many applicants there were for a given job.Report
My PFO from Toronto (Ancient search) stated that there were “roughly 100” candidates. This seems to imply that there are roughly 100 job seekers who might qualify for an ancient philosophy job.Report
@Marcus Arvan. I thought of suggesting that job candidates could share this information as well… but (a) I believe that so much of the job market already shifts burdens and costs to candidates instead of search committees (so why not give them a break when we can?) and (b) while PFOs do occasionally have those numbers, it is rare. Heck, its even rare to get PFO’s at all. I figured we would have a bigger pool of data to draw from if people who were on search committees provided that info.Report
You can always check the jobs threads at the Smoker. Lots of this information has been reported there over the years.
(Granted, it’s not organized in any useful way, and you’d mostly have to correlate the posts to the year’s ads to get the AOSes.)Report
I suspect the number is much larger than this. I teach at a non-Leiter-ranked PhD granting department; a significant portion of our grad students work on Ancient. None of the Ancient students we had on the market this year applied to the Toronto job. (Mentioning this because I suspect this generalizes; obviously the numbers from my department wouldn’t change things much, but…; I don’t think we can garner much information from how many people apply to jobs in a given area, unless we have data from comparable institutions running comparable searches.Report
Texas Tech advertised two positions in “M&E broadly construed”. We had 279 applicants. We had a few applicants who really didn’t fit into that category (but not a lot actually) and a lot of people who are in one of those fields and who were on the market did not apply. I have no idea how many such people there are.Report
Houston advertised an open position, but noted that we had special needs in hiring someone in M&E or history. We had 573 applicants, and I’d guess that at least 250 applicants worked on “core” topics. Some of these already had tt (or tt-equivalent) jobs, but the vast majority did not. In any case, I’m sure that much more than 10% of the total applicant pool this year works in core areas.Report