Improving Job Market in History

Breaking News

Fewer new historians and more job openings translate into one of the healthiest job markets in the field in years.

Data that will be published this month in Perspectives, the magazine of the American Historical Association, show that 966 history positions were advertised there in the 2004-5 academic year, a 13 percent increase in one year. During the same year, the number of new Ph.D.’s reported by departments fell by 14 percent, to 840.

As a result, the number of positions in Perspectives exceeded the number of new Ph.D.’s awarded for the first time in 15 years. Not all positions are advertised in Perspectives, and available jobs for junior faculty members are also being sought by unemployed or underemployed Ph.D.’s from the past few years, so the AHA report on the data cautions against assuming that finding a good faculty job in the field will be easy. But it is clearly a much better market than historians have seen in the recent past.

The history job market appears to be better across the board, in terms of geographic specialties sought for junior professor positions. There are still more jobs being listed in the history of North America and Europe than in other areas. But the percentage increases in position listings are much higher for Africa and the Middle East.

Editor: This news story was based on the report noted here: Robert Townsend: Job Market Report 2005: Signs of Improvement?

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Lisa Kazmier - 1/12/2006

I've gotten correspondence regarding a lot of jobs where I didn't get an interview and the applications were in the triple digits. Is this a relative term or what?

I'm not seeing "healthy" and my reduction in interviews vs. the last two years doesn't bear out this view at all.