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An Uneven Job Market for Assistant Professors


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The researchers' data set includes information on hiring at 391 Ph.D.-granting universities.

The U.S. academic job market has been characterized as a "nightmare," with an oversupply of doctoral graduates amid cratering numbers of tenure-track job postings. The most recent Academic Analytics database, however, reveals that demand for assistant professors is growing, but growth is uneven across disciplines.

The data set on hiring shows that the number of assistant professors increased in 101 of 154 academic disciplines between 2011 and 2021. The proportion of professors at the assistant level (compared to associate and full professors) increased in 62 of those disciplines.

In STEM areas, health sciences professions, and business disciplines, demand for new Ph.D.s is growing. This is not the case in education, in social sciences, and in particular in the humanities. These trends suggest a fundamental shift in the American research academy.

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