AMID ALL THE GLOOMY HEADlines about furloughs, layoffs, hiring freezes, and early retirement, one employment trend report offers a glimmer of hope. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by HigherEdJobs.com shows that employment in the higher ed sector has remained relatively stable despite the recession. The "Higher Education Employment Report, Second Quarter, 2010," released in August, reports that, from the first half of 2008 through the first half of 2010, higher education employment grew 4.2 percent, or increased by about 68,000 jobs. In contrast, the total number of U.S. jobs declined by 5.6 percent, or about 7.7 million jobs, during the time period.
Of course that is cold comfort for those who were laid off when budget cuts hit. Yet there is good news for job seekers, as well. Based on HigherEdJobs subscriber activity, the number of job postings in 2009 was down significantly from 2008, "but in the second quarter in 2010, postings increased and appear to be returning to pre-recessionary levels," says John Ikenberry, HigherEdJobs president.
He also saw a shift away from administrative positions and toward faculty openings for those schools that were posting jobs, although that trend is starting to level out. "That tells us that a year ago when an institution was going to hire someone, they wanted to preserve their academic quality," he says.
Hiring more faculty would be a shift in a long-term trend favoring administrative positions, says John W. Curtis, American Association of University Professors director of research and public policy, referring to Department of Education data from fall 2009. While an …