This survey is a tentative start to map out the current film/media job posting available in North America and Europe (most notably in UK), and tries to give a rough sense of the potential job market condition. Of course, the data collected here is far from complete, and we only just push outside a US-centric scope and a lot more work awaits to be done on the job availability and labor conditions in the booming film and media departments in Australia, Middle East, China, Africa, to name a few examples. We hope that the following data and reflection will encourage more graduate students and faculty to actively engage with data collection and wage their concern in each specific context.
Here is the raw data for job posts of film and media studies up until March 2015.
Based on the data we collected, there are several key reflections we want to highlight:
- The language seems to be quite opaque for some of the postings. Many state “potential to renew” thus blurring the boundary between a full-time non-tenure position (which is not an ideal situation) and a temporary position (even less ideal). This in turn places the prospective hire in a precarious position – for many, academic jobs necessitate major moves which should require a more secure, guaranteed, clear position.
- Many positions (incidentally posted on the job boards of more academically inclined sites) state that having an MFA will suffice for teaching positions (this includes study courses, not just production). This poses two potential problems:
- Having a new PhD is no longer a bargaining chip for teaching positions, even if the position requires the hire to teach more study courses than production.
- Some also imply that despite having a PhD, an MFA in addition would be preferable, or at least extensive experience with production courses. This, of course, means that those on the academic track must worry about having experience outside of our degree, possibly requiring more schooling (which could delay obtaining a job).
- The temporary positions that do renew contracts (to be clear, not post-doctoral positions, but lectureships) can adversely affect the job seeker in the long run, as their degree ages (which is apparently quite important to employers now), thus placing them in a position where they are less likely to obtain a tenure-track position.
- Just searching for jobs (let alone applying) can be an opaque and stressful process, especially given that many post- doctoral positions are not circulated widely, but through internal postings. Chance, circumstance, and luck drive many of the more desirable positions.