5 October 2022

Astronomy Jobs on the Rebound

David Principe Massachusetts Institute of Technology

K. Azalee Bostroem University of Arizona

Emily Mason Predictive Science Inc.

Chelsea Sharon Yale-NUS College

Julia Kamenetzky Westminster University

It's the start of the academic job cycle once again! The AAS Committee on Employment has compiled data from the AAS Job Register detailing the number and types of positions available each year. The COVID pandemic significantly reduced the number of job postings in 2020, with tenure-track faculty positions appearing to have been most affected. However, the number of job postings in 2021 returned to pre-pandemic levels and appears consistent with past trends of increasing job numbers.

Are you graduating soon or considering applying to a new position on the Job Register? Based on data from the past four years, the highest number of positions are listed between the months of September and December. While the start date for many of these positions will be the following academic year, the AAS Job Register hosts diverse positions at all times of the year and we encourage you to search for a job that suits you!

Two plots are shown. The top shows the number of jobs as a function of a posting month, with trend lines for each year from 2018-2021 and only through May for 2022. All years' data show a clear peak in Sept-Dec of about 150-250 jobs per month, while the rest of the year shows only about 50-100 jobs per month. The peak in 2020 was depressed by about 30%. The bottom plot show the number of job postings as a function of year, with trend lines for different job types (tenure-track faculty, non-tenure track faculty, postdoctoral researchers, research support, and other). All jobs show a steady increase in number from 1990 to today, with a year-to-year scatter of about 20%. The total number of jobs increased from about 300 in 1990 to about 1400 today. Just under half of those jobs are postdoctoral positions each year. Tenure-track and research support roles are the next most abundant, at about 200 positions each in 2021. Non-tenure-track faculty and other positions are the least abundant with fewer than 100 positions each in 2021. Most position types did not show strong growth in 2020, but the number of tenure-track faculty positions dipped by about 30%.