Friday, August 24, 2012

The Academic Job Market in Europe

Archaeology blogger Martin Rundkvist, who finished his doctorate in 2002 and has been on the job market for ten years, just got his his first part-time teaching job, a single class.

Really one of the defining factors for academics of my generation is a sense that education is a route, not to advancement, but to irrelevance. Even the people who have teaching jobs moan about the lousy pay, curse administrative bloat, and swear they will never let their own children go to graduate school.

I suspect this is what happens when a field grows very rapidly for a whole generation, then stops growing while thousands of people are already in training to enter it. The oversupply of qualified applicants forces wages down, intensifies the competition for good jobs, and generally makes everyone cranky; the political swing toward conservatism and reduced spending on education only worsens the atmosphere, as does intensifying careerism among undergraduates. The oversupply of would-be professors must also be connected in some way to the broader crisis in our educational system, that is, the end to the sense that a higher education qualified you for some kind of interesting, well-paid work. If there ever was a smooth route from a good education to a good job, there isn't any more. The existence of a large class of underemployed academics strikes me as a symptom of this breakdown.

1 comment:

Shawn Tina said...

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