Philosophy Jobs Analysis for 2003-4

A couple of weeks ago I did an analysis of the jobs in the first JFP. I’ve now updated and expanded this to include the second JFP and the web ads. I’ve also done a more detailed breakdown of the jobs than last time. Since this goes on for a while, I’ve put it in the extended entry.

First, the data, then some explanation.

With Areas Distributed Tot Phil TT Top 50
Science 33.3 28.1 20.4 6.7
Language 14.7 13.1 8.3 3.0
Mind 19.9 17.4 13.0 3.7
Epistemology 22.1 19.9 14.8 4.0
Metaphysics 16.6 15.1 10.9 2.7
Logic 11.8 10.3 6.3 1.8
Theoretical Ethics 43.1 39.6 32.6 8.6
Legal Philosophy 21.6 12.9 9.3 1.7
Applied Ethics 60.1 39.3 24.0 2.1
Aesthetics 11.5 10.0 8.2 1.1
Political 23.9 20.2 15.3 4.3
Ancient 29.2 27.7 22.7 3.6
Early Modern 32.7 31.2 25.1 5.8
Other History 28.9 23.4 20.4 2.9
Continental 19.0 17.5 14.3 0.9
Asian, African-American 26.4 21.8 16.6 1.9
Other 21.2 17.7 11.0 1.9
With Every Area Counted Tot Phil TT Top 50
Science 171 139 104 32
Language 148 122 89 28
Mind 156 129 96 28
Epistemology 166 138 105 30
Metaphysics 152 126 94 27
Logic 136 110 78 20
Theoretical Ethics 189 159 122 34
Legal Philosophy 149 114 83 22
Applied Ethics 194 144 104 21
Aesthetics 132 106 79 20
Political 163 133 100 31
Ancient 158 132 101 23
Early Modern 169 143 108 29
Other History 161 131 101 24
Continental 135 109 80 17
Asian, African-American 141 112 81 18
Other 137 109 77 18
With Areas Distributed Tot Phil TT Top 50
Core 105.2 93.7 66.1 20.1
Ethics 155.5 118.0 86.9 17.1
History 99.3 88.8 72.8 13.6
Other 76.0 64.5 47.3 5.8
With Every Area Counted Tot Phil TT Top 50
Core 216 183 138 45
Ethics 271 212 160 39
History 208 178 141 34
Other 173 142 105 19

In the ‘distributed’ tables, I counted a job as being 1/n’th of a job in each area listed as being open for it. So an applied ethics/ancient/epistemology job would count 1/3 for each of those three areas. Most importantly, the 117 open jobs counted as 1/17’th of a job in each area. This is not obviously appropriate – an open job is more valuable for a candidate in theoretical ethics or early modern or mind than it is for a candidate in aesthetics or Asian philosophy or (to some extent) philosophy of language. But it was the best I could do. In those tables I also counted open rank jobs as being 1/2 a tenure-track job.

In the ‘every area counted’ I didn’t use any such fractional analysis. An applied ethics/ancient/epistemology job would count as 1 job in each area.

Most of the categories in the top two tables are self-explanatory, but a note on the two ‘other’ areas. ‘Other history’ mostly ended up meaning medieval, but also included a few 19th and 20th century positions. ‘Other’ included, inter alia, philosophy of religion and feminist philosophy. I was more than a little embarrassed by the stereotypes I was living up to in throwing those into a generic ‘other’ category, but not embarrassed enough to go back and recode everything – which by the end became a bit of a task because of how bad a coder I am.

For the summary categories at the end, ‘Core’ is Science + Language + Mind + Logic + Epistemology + Metaphysics, ‘Ethics’ is Theoretical and Applied Ethics, Legal, Political and Aesthetics, ‘History’ is Ancient + Early Modern + Other History, and ‘Other’ is everything else. (‘Ethics’ really is value theory, broadly construed.)

The first column counts all jobs in Jobs for Philosophers. The second column restricts attention to jobs in philosophy departments. The third to tenure-track jobs in philosophy departments, and the fourth to tenure-track jobs in top 50 philosophy departments. (Top 50 here means in the top 50 in the Leiter Report or, for schools outside the US, listed as being equivalent to a top 50 department or, for schools without a PhD program, of the standard of the departments previously listed.)

There’s a few obvious trends. The ratio of Core to Other jobs inside the Top 50 and outside it is noteworthy. The 5.8 Top 50 jobs in ‘Other’ is actually quite misleading, because that’s just a consequence of the fact that there are 17 open jobs in the top 50. If we assume those are really core/ethics/history jobs, the number of other jobs falls to 1 or 2. I was a little surprised by the low number of applied ethics jobs in the Top 50.

There are also a few things I didn’t really expect. I don’t know if it’s a one-year trend, but Science is way ahead of other core areas, especially when the distributions are done. Partially this is because there are very few jobs in just metaphysics, while there are quite a few jobs in just science. The low numbers for metaphysics and logic should be a little worrying to students working (or thinking of working) in those areas. Any such candidate should, at the very least, try to go on the market with a very solid competency in a related area (especially science, epistemology or mind), and ideally with a second AOS.

Also, I hadn’t expected how many jobs there would be in each area. The 117 open jobs are obviously pushing up the numbers here, but it seems most candidates could, if their placement offices were so inclined, apply for upwards of 150 jobs. In my (admittedly limited) experience most candidates apply for 40 to 70 jobs, so actually people are passing up a few jobs for which they could, technically, apply.

2 Replies to “Philosophy Jobs Analysis for 2003-4”

  1. A new place to look for an academic job is They have web crawlers that visit all the university job sites (human resources) and bring all the available higher ed jobs together in one place.

  2. A new place to look for an academic job is They have web crawlers that visit all the university job sites (human resources) and bring all the available higher ed jobs together in one place.

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