Last year at this time I noted that deferred retirements were having a significant impact on the job market, in that many planned positions never materialized. Indeed, in some cases, a deferred retirement by an advanced full professor may block two entry-level positions because of the budgetary impact.
While the retirements seem to be returning to a more normal pace, I have noted a new dynamic in the market this year that has created another problem for entry-level applicants: the emergence of advanced applicants.
With so many institutions in financial turmoil, many experienced faculty members are open to pursuing new opportunities elsewhere. As I have advised search committees on my campus and on others, I have been amazed at how many fine applicants have been at very advanced assistant-professor status or even associate rank. When a committee compares a candidate who will graduate this May and has no full-time teaching experience or scholarly production against someone who has, say, four years of teaching experience, a track record of research success, and other proven abilities, it’s hard for the entry-level person to compete except in the purely financial realm of being cheaper to hire. I have seen many entry-level candidates who would be slam-dunk hires in previous years languishing on the market because there are so many other candidates looking this year. As one entry-level candidate complained, “It’s hard to be optimistic about landing a job when I find out that one of my professors from my alma mater was also a candidate for the positions for which I’ve applied.”