New mismatches in sociology job market between grad student interests, job specializations

While the sociology job market is looking up, there is a lingering issue: what graduate students are studying doesn’t line up with specialty areas for the advertised job openings.

Another problem within the sociology job market is the “mismatch” between sociological specializations areas sought after by search committees and areas of interest from graduate students. The area of social control, law, crime and deviance was the most highly-valued specialization based on position advertisements. But graduate students ranked that specialization area fourth.

Likewise, there was a mismatch between the second most frequent advertised specialty, race and ethnicity. This was the ninth most popular with graduate students, which Spalter-Roth said she found surprising, since it is a “central focus” of sociology.

To address this mismatch issue, Spalter-Roth said sociology Ph.D. students should be encouraged to make their studies relevant to multiple specialty areas. So, for instance, someone who is interested in gender studies can also take criminal justice courses and take a closer look into crimes against women.

Globalization and global issues ranked fifth in job listings and 15th among graduate students. This mismatch may be short-lived, since graduate programs are increasingly offering more courses and programs in this area of specialization.

The five areas with the biggest mismatch, according to the full report:


Interesting data. The biggest gaps here do seem to come in important sociological subfields: inequality? Organizations? Deviance? The growing area of medicine? This could be useful information to grad students, at least in terms of having an idea of how they are going to have to pitch themselves on the job market. But, considering the length of grad school plus possible several opportunities a grad student might have to test the market (while writing the dissertation, graduating, perhaps in a post-doc, after a visiting position, etc.), wouldn’t it be more helpful to look at year to year trends? See the report on the 2010 job market here:

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.

So some similarities and differences a few years ago.

0 thoughts on “New mismatches in sociology job market between grad student interests, job specializations

  1. Pingback: Sociology departments “holding steady” across American colleges | Legally Sociable

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