Searching for a job, especially in this economy, isn’t a picnic for anyone. But the academic job market is unique, and uniquely challenging. Academic jobs for philosophers, especially tenure-track positions, have become scarcer, yet the number of philosophy degree-earners has not similarly dropped. As a result, the jobs that are available—even those that might have been less desirable in years past—are more competitive. And this is to say nothing of the stresses that have always come with the philosophy job market (building a placement file, interviewing for positions, and so on).
The APA has long served an important role in the job market, and as times change and the job market evolves, we are committed to continuing to provide value and resources to our members and the profession.
We’ve already put in significant effort in building the new, more fully featured, online-only Jobs for Philosophers, and we will continue to take user feedback into account as we develop it further. We also this year partnered with Interfolio to offer complimentary free trials of their Dossier service for candidates and ByCommittee service for hiring committees to all APA members. We’re reexamining the APA’s placement service at divisional meetings, looking for ways to improve the experience for candidates. And as you know, in response to member feedback, the Eastern Division meeting will soon be held in early January rather than the last week of December.
The APA task force on membership and member services last year made a number of recommendations related to the job market, including studying the relative merits of in-person and electronic (i.e., Skype) interviews and clarifying the role of the meeting receptions to the effect that these receptions are not to be used for supplementary or additional interviewing. Michael Bratman, chair of the board of officers, has been tasked with assigning these recommendations to APA committees for review and implementation as part of our efforts to improve the job market experience for all involved.
We at the APA are thinking carefully right now about how to sustain our important relationship to the job market—that is, how we can continue to provide safeguards for candidates, such as our non-discrimination policy and prohibitions against inappropriate interviewing practices, and a comprehensive clearinghouse for jobs that makes the application process easier—in light of the ways the job market is evolving. We strongly believe that the APA can and should continue to serve this important role; we believe we have a duty to the profession to do so.The job market in philosophy is complex and changing rapidly. And while we don’t have all the answers, we’re working hard to make a difficult process at least a little bit easier for all involved.