IS IT ALL WORTH IT? THE EXPERIENCES OF NEW PHDS ON THE JOB MARKET, 2007-2010
Brooke Helppie McFall
Robert J. Willis
Working Paper 20654
This paper describes the job market experiences of new PhD economists, 2007-10. Using information from PhD programs' job candidate websites and original surveys, the authors present information about job candidates' characteristics, preferences and expectations; how job candidates fared at each stage of the market; and predictors of outcomes at each stage. Some information presented in this paper updates findings of prior studies. However, design features of the data used in this paper may result in more generalizable findings. This paper is unique in comparing pre-market expectations and preferences with post-market outcomes on the new PhD job market. It shows that outcomes tend to align with pre-market preferences, and candidates' expectations are somewhat predictive of their outcomes. Several analyses also shed light on sub-group differences.
"During the job-market seasons covered by this study, job candidates submitted 107 applications, completed 17 interviews and 6 fly-outs, and received 3 job offers on average. Our findings show a dramatic increase in applications compared to List (2000), who found the average job seeker in his convenience sample had scheduled just seven interviews prior to the AEA meetings in 1997.xvii It is likely that the decreased cost of finding openings and submitting applications associated with of the growth of internet job listings and web-based applications have changed norms since the late 1990s. "(p9)
"Positions in business and industry tend to be the highest paid, at $110,100 on average, while postdoctoral fellowships, the lowest-paid category, average just $57,500. The average salary for a four-year college position is $72,400, while the average new assistant professor’s salary at a university is $96,500 per year. " (p16)