The Job Situation in Academe?

If I were advising someone looking at the government option, I’d tell them to consult several state job boards just to see what’s in demand. Perhaps start off by picking an agency that you’re interested in. Look at the skills they’re looking for (someone with strong communication skills? statistics? database management?) What backgrounds? (stream restoration? special-needs children? drug abuse counseling?)

What skills/background can you realistically acquire before you graduate?

A Ph.D candidate was just hired by my office for a part-time job. His background is in nutrient cycling in estuaries, and now is reviewing grant applications for stormwater projects. I don’t know how he sold himself to the hiring committee, but I’m guessing he played down his doctoral research and played up the specific skills they are looking for. Which is exactly what I did when I interviewed. A year before I started looking for a job, I taught myself a bunch of stuff that I knew would make me more marketable (on top of what was already on my resume). I put together a portfolio of my skillz, put up it on a free website, and got called in to interview for the first state job I applied for.

Smeghead, PM me if you’d like. I don’t know what you want to know, but I’ll do my best!

I was an Engineering Prof. Both of my children have PhD’s in science as does my son-in-law. I have advised them all that academia is not the way to go anymore. It was great when I started in the late 80’s. By the time I left as Professor Emerita a couple of years ago it was horrible; I would recommend it to no one. :frowning:

Some years ago, as I have a doctorate from a pretty decent university, I was asked to adjunct a class at a local university. I decided to do it to build up my resume, but I did well enough that the dean of the college looked in to offering me a part-time position. The faculty in that department went absolutely crazy when they heard about this idea and the dean was forced to quash it. This, despite the fact that two of the five full-time professors in the department were on the wrong side of 70 and nearing retirement, and hiring a Ph.D. from one of the top ten universities in the field as a part-timer replacement would have both saved the university some cash and helped its position in the all-important university rankings. So I think professors currently employed have to bear some of the responsibility for what’s going on. They don’t mind adjuncts teaching classes, which a lot of them don’t want to do anyway, but they don’t want to cede an inch of power or research resources to anyone.

By the way, I’ve often heard complaints about administration as being the problem with college costs. From what I’ve seen I’m not sure I buy it. People at the college I taught at wondered why the university had four times the amount of administration it did when they were there in, say, 1975. I dunno, maybe because the university had four times the number of students that it did in 1975? There’s no way you’d run a business that way, and even people who think universities should be run like a business seem to complain about rising admin costs. I can tell you that the low-level college admins I knew were getting probably half of the salaries they’d be getting for similar work in the business world, and the university had to resort to heroic measures to keep the good people on board.