Methods: This study collected data via document analysis and a survey covering the academic job market from 5/1/2017 through 4/30/2018.The Council on Social Work Education’s job announcement website, the main location for advertising social work jobs, was monitored weekly to collect job announcements. This was cross-checked with the social work academic jobs wiki and announcements sent on the GADE and NADD listserv. The announcements were analyzed for types of positions, job requirements, and types of universities of positions. We also surveyed all the doctoral program directors who were members of GADE regarding the number of the doctoral graduates from their programs who were on the job market during the same time period, the types of positions they were seeking, and the types of positions they obtained.
Results: From the CSWE website, we collected a total of 150 posts that contained advertisements for 198 tenure-track positions. Research 1 universities advertised about one-third (n=68) of the tenure-track positions. The job market timeline was skewed toward early fall, with September having the highest number of job posting (n=43). In terms of desirable qualifications and experiences, a large majority (87.4%) of the positions specifically stated that having a master’s degree in social work was required or preferred. In addition, nearly four-fifths of the positions (79.8%) required applicants to have at least 2 years of post MSW experience, ranging from 2 to 7 years of required post-MSW practice experience. Of doctoral graduates, just over half of the graduates were willing to move to take a position, less than one-third were interested solely in Research 1 positions, and nearly one-quarter were not interested in seeking tenure-track positions.
Implications: The study provides the first comprehensive overview of the social work academic job market. The findings can help social work doctoral programs recruit students and prepare them for future academic careers, and can help doctoral students better prepare for seeking tenure-track positions.