Where the TT jobs were(n’t) in 2021-22

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Longtime readers may recall that most of the past handful of years, I’ve done informal data-collection on PhilJobs to see what the year’s academic job market has been like (here are the numbers for 2020-21, 2019-20, 2017-18, and 2016-17). Anyway, I was curious what this year’s market was like, so I’ve gone and done another tally. I realize that PhilJobs isn’t a complete sample, as a good number of jobs may only be advertised elsewhere, such as at HigherEdJobs. However, collecting and collating this kind of data is really hard work and PhilJobs is the easiest to work with (by far)–so that is the sample I use each year. One quick note before proceeding: although I’ve done my best to collect the data in this post accurately, this is just an informal report, not a formal study, so if there are any errors, I apologize in advance (though, if there are any, I’m fairly certain they would be very, very minor). Here is my spreadsheet, if anyone would like to triple-check things (you can also take a deeper dive than the numbers below to see how many jobs were advertised this year in particular AOS sub-categories, e.g., mind, metaphysics, philosophy of race, etc.). I’m more than happy to correct any errors and update this post if any are found.

Like last year, I’ve decided to break things up into two different posts: one on TT jobs (today), and another on non-TT jobs (a few weeks from now). Today’s post is based upon a PhilJobs search for ‘tenure-track (or similar)’ job ad posted between August 1st, 2021 and Friday, April 8th, 2022. A few quick notes on methodology. The methodology I’ve always used in this series works as follows. When I encounter jobs with two AOS’s (e.g. metaphysics, moral philosophy), I counted each job as ‘.5’ jobs in that area (or in the case of 3 AOS, ‘.33’ jobs, etc.). Although I recognize this is a bit odd, it seems to me to make sense, as a job like that could go to someone in any of the listed AOSs, not just one particular AOS. Because I did this with all jobs, the numbers seem to me to accurately weight whether a job is in a particular AOS simpliciter, or whether it was also available to candidates in other AOS. Second, as noted above I only counted “junior-level” jobs (i.e. postdocs, lecturer, and Assistant Professor positions), not Associate or Professor level jobs. Third, I only counted academic jobs (leaving the very few non-academic jobs advertised on PhilJobs to the side). 

Anyway, here are the numbers I compiled for this year, along with a few graphs for comparisons to past years:

Total (junior-level) TT jobs advertised in 2021-22: 201

2020-21: 118
2019-20: 224
2017-18: 228
2016-17: 231

TT jobs advertised by AOS:

Open AOS: 36.68 jobs (18.24% of jobs advertised)

2016-17
17%

2017-18
17.8%

2019-20
20.5%

2020-21
24.6%

2021-22
18.2%

‘Core areas’ (mind, language, metaphysics, epistemology, logic): 24.3 jobs (12.1% of TT jobs advertised)

2016-17
10%

2017-18
13.1%

2019-20
8.3%

2020-21
6.4%

2021-22
12.1%

Philosophy of Science (including cog sci, philosophy of technology, & AI): 14.34 jobs (7.1% of TT job ads)

2016-17
7.8%

2017-18
6.5%

2019-20
10.9%

2020-21
11.7%

2021-22
7.1%

Ethics: 47.18 jobs (23.5% of TT job ads)

2016-17
21.6%

2017-18
22.6%

2019-20
23%

2020-21
26.3%

2021-22
23.5%

Social and Political Philosophy: 24.79 jobs (12.3% of TT job ads)

2016-17
12%

2017-18
11.8%

2019-20
8%

2020-21
10.3%

2021-22
12.3%

History of Philosophy: 19.43 jobs (9.6% of TT job ads)

2016-17
13%

2017-18
11.2%

2019-20
12.3%

2020-21
6.1%

2021-22
9.7%

Philosophy of marginalized identities (race, gender, disability, etc.): 17.08 jobs (8.5% of TT job ads)

2016-17
6.7%

2017-18
4.7%

2019-20
5.2%

2020-21
6.8%

2021-22
8.5%

‘Non-Western’ Philosophies: 11.74 jobs (5.8% of TT job ads)

2016-17
5.2

2017-18
4.7

2019-20
5.2

2020-21
6.5

2021-22
5.8

Continental philosophy (& phenomenology): 2 jobs

Philosophy of Religion: 1.83 jobs

Here are some graphical comparisons over time:

As you can see, each job season Ethics has far and away advertised the highest number/percentage of TT jobs, followed by Open AOS. If (as in some of my previous report posts) one combines Ethics and Social-Political into a single category (‘value theory’), the number of total Value Theory jobs is vastly higher than any other area of TT jobs advertised. Because AOS’s lower down on this graph are messy and hard to parse out because of how the graph compresses things, here’s the same graph subtracting out Ethics and Open AOS:

As you can see, things are pretty ‘noisy’ here. It is hard to make out any clear trends, though History of Philosophy TT jobs seem to have declined some over the past two years, whereas TT jobs in Philosophies of Marginalized identities appear to have increased modestly over the past five years. Notably, however, these changes generally pretty small–just a few percentage points here and there.

So, I guess my takeaways are these:

This season’s TT job was vastly better than last year’s COVID-impacted season, but still not quite up to the level of TT job ads pre-COVID.
Ethics and Open AOS continue to dominate other AOS’s in terms of TT jobs advertised.

Update/note: a full 67.5% of TT jobs in Ethics were in applied ethics fields this year (47.18 jobs in Ethics, 31.86 of which were applied areas).

It’s hard to make out clear trends regarding other AOS’s, all of which seem to fluctuate markedly over time–though History of Philosophy appears to have declined somewhat over time whereas Marginalized Identity jobs appear to have modestly increased the past few years.
I also noticed (merely anecdotally) that philosophies of marginalized identities and non-Western philosophies appears to occur relatively often this year in AOS categories (though I was not able to do comparisons to past years, as I have not in general compiled AOC numbers):

# of TT jobs w/philosophies of marginalized identities AOC’s: 22 jobs (10.9%)
# of TT jobs w/non-Western philosophy AOC’s: 12 jobs (6%)

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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