Jun 25, 2015

Timing (2015)

As the 2016 job market is getting underway, it's helpful to look at prior markets to get a sense of how many jobs are posted and when those postings show up.

Over the past few market cycles, jobs have been plentiful. Here's the breakdown on the total number of unique job ads for the 2011-12 through 2014-15 markets.

MARKET CYCLE     NUMBER OF JOBS
2011-12     427
2012-13     460
2013-14     486
2014-15     545

 

Without question, the past few market cycles have been very good -- and 2014-15 takes the cake as the single most impressive market to date. In total 588 positions with a 2015 start date were posted on Marketing Phd Jobs (43 were reposts which is why the number above is 545 rather than 588). That's a lot of jobs. You could make the case that 545 is a conservative number due to the fact that many of the listings indicate searches for multiple openings. However, you could also make a case for 2014-15 jobs number being somewhat inflated. The 2014-15 market cycle appears to be unending. I posted a position as recently as yesterday (June 24!). That makes for 11 positions posted in June on top of the 11 positions that posted in May, which is typically when the market cycle trickles to a close (and notably most of the May listings were in the second half of the month). So, the final number is either conservative or inflated -- take your pick. With that in mind, let's take a look at job postings by month for the 2015 cycle as well as what things looked like leading into AMA last year beginning with the two graphs below.

 


 

Typically May, June, July, and October are the big four (with October coming in 3rd) months for job postings. However, for the 2015 market cycle, February popped up as number three (with 50 postings) behind first place June (84 postings) and second place May (83 postings). October was the fourth most active month (47 postings) with July tying for fifth place along with November and January (each with 46 postings). In the end, every month in the 2014-15 market cycle saw 40 or more job postings except for August, March, and April. There were 28 openings announced in the month of April. The chart above lumps in the 22 additional openings in May and June for completeness (this is true for the prior market numbers as well). Similarly, announcements before May 2014 are included in the May count, but I'm not going to quibble about schools that post announcements early, since those are active leading into AMA. But it does make sense to discount late-market posts, since those appear when few people are actively in the market. What does stand out overall, is that the post-AMA market was substantially more active for 2014-15 than prior markets. Let's turn to look at the pre-AMA portion of the market, which is depicted in the two graphs that follow.

 


 

For the week-by-week charts, weeks run Sunday to Saturday, and Week 1 is defined as the week containing May 1st. All jobs posted prior to that week are included in the Week 1 count. Because AMA floats around, different weeks may be more or less active in a given market cycle. Last year, AMA was held August 1-3. This year, AMA is being held August 14-16. As a result Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. in the comparison chart do not correspond to the same calendar week across cycles, and last year there was one fewer week than usual. Mostly, the difference in timing seems to affect whether schools review applications before or after July 4. But a later AMA date allows time for schools to post announcements after July 4 and still review applications in time for AMA. So, it is possible there will be a late surge in postings this year.

For the 2014-15 market cyce, 188 positions were announced prior to the 2014 AMA Summer Educators' Conference. This is slightly fewer than the 195 positions that appeared prior to AMA in the prior market cycle (i.e. leading into AMA 2013). This means the August through market-end for 2015 yielded 67 more job postings than the same period the prior year. That's slightly more than seven additional jobs each month, which is substantial.

 

So, What Does All of This Mean?

The numbers alone are interesting, but it's probably useful to think a bit about what the numbers tell us about the academic job market. The major takeaway with respect to timing is that it seems likely candidates are in for an extended "AMA phone call" season. AMA is relatively late this year. But there are already 145 positions up for 2016. So plenty of schools will start making calls in early July. However, another 50-70 schools are likely to post a job between now and August 14, so calls will inevitably run into August. That's up to five full weeks that candidates will need to field invitations to interview at AMA. And that's a lot.

Additionally, the fact that 145 jobs have been announced is a bit perplexing. The 2015 Labor Market Report seemed to suggest the market would be somewhat less active this year. I'll have a full post on the LMR next week, so I don't want to get into too much depth here. But certainly, with six weeks to go before AMA, it's possible we'll set yet another record for job posts this year.

Another takeaway is that AMA ≠ THE job market. Yes, AMA is incredibly important. And yes, AMA is where research-focused schools tend to recruit. But AMA accounts for between 30% and 40% of all positions that appear in a given market cycle. So, it may be useful to remember that not all schools recruit at AMA. The conventional wisdom is that the post-AMA (sometimes called secondary market) consists of people and schools that did not find a match at AMA. That's probably more true on the candidate side. Anyone still applying for positions in August and beyond is looking to beat whatever was on the table at AMA. However, the conventional wisdom doesn't seem to hold for the recruiting side of the market. There were 43 reposted positions in the 2014-15 market cycle, and only seven of those were from schools that interviewed candidates at AMA. That's 7 reposted positions out of the 188 the pre-AMA listings, which is pretty low. So, most of the schools recruiting after AMA entered the market sometime after August 4.

It's probably also worth noting that just because a school is in the market (regardless of when it enters), that doesn't mean the school is guaranteed to hire someone. We don't have good data on the rate of failed searches, but with over 500 schools in the market last year and roughly 150 rookies, not every school considering a rookie hired one. Of course, schools may have hired non-rookies (advanced assistant, associate, or full professors), but inevitably, not every search ends successfully. There are many reasons why that might be the case. Perhaps the committee did not find a suitable candidate. Or perhaps the committee could not agree on which candidate should receive an offer. Or perhaps funding dried up unexpectedly. Regardless of reason, the key takeaway is that a job posting ≠ a hire.

That's probably plenty for now. I have a few more posts lined up, and I'm going to work on getting these out more regularly.
Next up is a discussion of the 2015 Labor Market Report (bit.ly/2015LMR). Look for that one next week.

In the meantime, if you are a candidate on the market this year, please be sure to create a profile on MPJ and then log into your account to click the "Add me to the candidate list" button. This will ensure you're included on the candidate page when it launches in July. If you've already registered, be on the lookout for an e-mail from me regarding the Candidate Questionnaire.

As always, send thoughts and comments to ethan.pew@stonybrook.edu.