Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the anthropology job market

It's the academic job market time again! In honor of the season opening, I want to remind you all of the classic "archaeology academic job draft" post by Archaeonumeracy. Now, onto the job market joy!

These two links came across my radar yesterday:

The first article talks about how horrible the anthropology job market is, at least in academia. I'll admit, there are times when I wonder if I made a mistake going into anthropology. I love it, but would I have been just as happy as a paleontologist? Or a wildlife biologist? Would my job prospects have been much better in those fields?

The second article predicts strong growth in the anthropology/archaeology job market, mostly in CRM and government jobs ("government" as in Department of Defense). I've told my students that graduate school in anthropology can be a good choice, but if being a university professor is the only acceptable outcome for them, they need to find another field. On the other hand, even students who are interested in applied fields can have trouble finding the right training, as many graduate programs continue to give short shrift to the practicalities of the job market.

This past week, I sent out my first job applications of the season. I'm being picky about my applications. I already have a job and I can afford to wait until something I really want shows up*. On the other hand, this looks like a (relatively) good year on the job market. I've already seen five jobs I'm willing to apply for, and there will probably be more. Who else is on the job market this year? Are you feeling more optimistic than in previous years?

*I'm still debating whether or not to apply for the job at Stanford, which is clearly the faunal job of the year. Why or why do all the faunal jobs have to be in coastal California where nobody can afford to live?!? Does anybody else wonder if it's worth taking a great job, but in a place where your quality of living would be low?


  1. In response to last 2nd para, I think we need to change with time...so whynot a new job. ?

    Job Application letters

  2. I'm with you in the throes of job application season (sob), but without a preexisting tenure-track job. For me, the job market is pretty similar to last year's. Some of these look like dream jobs as far as I can tell from the interwebs and academic rumors. Others make me wonder whether even if I managed to get the job, I'd kick myself later for leaving my (relatively inexpensive) hometown, my spouse's good job, family support, and fairly successful (so far, knock on wood!) cobbling together of short-term and part-time gigs I really enjoy. Not something I should really be worrying about given the slim chances of actually getting an offer from any given institution in the first place, but that hasn't stopped me from wondering anyway...

  3. PS Thanks for reminding me of the SAA draft idea. I wish soooooo much that it worked that way...

  4. This is such an important issue! I find myself making "pro" and "con" lists for various jobs, and there are waaaay too many jobs that I apply for where the "con" list is really long (expensive city, no support network, harder time getting tenure, less time with family, etc.), and the only "pro" is "higher prestige job".

    Actually, that's not quite true. The other "pro" is usually "much better location for my husband to potentially find fulfilling career opportunities", and that's the pro that makes everything difficult. If it was just choosing between "quality of living" and "prestige of job", at this point, with two small kids, I'd choose "quality of living" every time. But when there's also the issue of my husband's career, then there are a lot of "quality of living" items that we would be willing to give up in order to have us both meaningfully employed. After all, we don't have very high quality of living if my husband isn't happy with his job!