Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Additional Employment Statistics

For those of us hoping for a career in academia, here's another bit of sobering statistics. The PhD class of 2011 is projected to be between 1350 and 1500 graduates. From 2004 to 2007, there were an average of slightly less than 500 tenure-track faculty positions available per year. That means that unless this trend changes, we'll be facing roughly 1 in 3 odds of getting a tenure-track position when we hit the job market.

Sleep peacefully with that on your mind.


  1. As I was writing the comment on your last post it dawned on me:

    All this time and stress for a factor of 2 difference in pay really doesn't look so hot when you consider:

    1. Right now I could double my salary and save the difference in such a way that the difference in pay in 5-10 years from now doesn't look so hot.
    2. You will be in a higher tax bracket, so you keep less percentage of money.

    Plus I am assuming I get to be a professor.

    So all this extra time and stress and between taxes and money I could be saving but am not, the factor of ~2 difference starting 5-10 years from now doesn't look that great.

  2. Yeah, from a dollars and cents point of view, we all should have been dentists. However, I get to go home happy from work pretty much everyday - which is worth a lot and completely tax-free.

  3. Actually, to be more precise, since 15% of PhD's take non-research positions initially, it's safe to assume that there are only about 1200 people competing for 500 jobs, which means we each have something like a 41% of actually getting one.

    And I, for one, would be just as happy at a national lab as at a university, so if we assume that the ratio of permanent national lab positions to tenure-track positions is roughly the same as the ratio of government to university post-docs, that means that there are an additional 150 or so jobs.

    All this means that there are roughly 1200 people going after 650 jobs, for odds of about 54% of getting one.


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