Sociology job market improves

But jobs available don’t match students’ interests

It’s been a tumultuous few years for those graduating with sociology doctorates in North America. In 2009, the number of job listings for entry-level professors plunged by 35 per cent.

But new numbers show that listings increased 32 per cent in 2010 — a near recovery. It’s all in the American Sociological Association’s new report, Moving Toward Recovery.

It’s not all good news, however. The report also surveyed PhD candidates and found some major mismatches between their “areas of special interest” and the jobs that were available in 2010.

One of the widest gaps is in criminology (a.k.a. social control, crime, law and deviance), which made up 31 per cent of all postings on the ASA’s job site in 2010, but was only listed as an area of special interest for 18 per cent of PhD candidates whom were surveyed by the ASA.

The opposite problem exists too. More people are interested in “inequities and stratification” than any other field — 35 per cent of candidates chose it as one of their special interests — but only 19 per cent of jobs advertised were in that area.

There’s also a shortage of jobs for those interested in teaching gender and sexuality. One fifth of students are interested in the subject, but only one tenth of advertised jobs were in that field.