Monday, October 19, 2009

I Shouldn't Care About the Library Journal Salary And Placement Survey

But I sort of do.

I just can't reconcile the sunny spin they are trying to put on the numbers with the facts that the number of full time jobs available shrank 20%, if you're a woman you make less than a man (in a profession with a 80%/20% female to male ratio), if you're a minority you have better chances securing a job and a higher salary, if it's your second or third career you may be able to get a job as an academic librarian, and average starting salaries are down. Go read it yourself and tell me if your take is less depressing than mine.


thelady said...

"graduates finding positions in the Northeast negotiated better than average salaries"

they really need to do some basic cost of living adjustments, graduates in the northeast make more because it cost more to live there, I doubt they negotiated much, those areas offer higher salary ranges.

I barely made it past the intro before finding something to gripe about.

thelady said...

ok more complaints
The person they chose to spotlight had a dual degree in Information Science and Public Affairs and accepted a position in a consulting firm. What does this have to do with libraries and library science degrees? Absolutely nothing.

"Although her career is in IS, Centanni feels confident that the future for librarians is as strong as it is for IS graduates. She notes the "huge surge in public library use" in Chicago, where she regularly takes advantage of the Humboldt Branch of the Chicago Public Library."

WTF, how would she know? And if she thought the future was so bright in libraries why did she chose to work elsewhere?

drwende said...

I'm thinking that the newsletter of the blacksmith's association probably read like this right around the time that those pesky horseless carriages were starting to sell.

Salaries and full-time employment are down, but... there are green shoots! Bob got a job working for that new Ford plant, and while he's no longer in the blacksmithing field, he feels its future is equally bright.

Kerry said...

Bob's skills were transferable!

Thelady, you're doing better than I am. After I read it and tried to go back and parse out their methodology, I decided to bang my head against the wall instead. I don't get why they are dividing graduates and jobs regionally by school location when they keep telling everyone that they have to be prepared to move to get a job. Let's not talk about the lie re: that actually being able to be done. And IU must have some great career counseling office as most of the people I talk to feel left out in the cold by theirs.

A casual acquaintance is leaving the profession at the end of the month because he can't find a library-oriented job. He's getting crap for the decision from certain people who frankly have particular delusions and can't get past the idea that if there's few jobs in the field and you're effectively on the shelf a year or so after graduation.

Oh, and the fact that a book coming out in 2010 uses "cybrarian" in the title is scary.

drwende said...

I'm betting the career counseling office that placed her was affiliated with the School of Public Affairs, not with SLIS. PA and MBA career offices are aggressive about going after 100% placement for graduates. She talks about "both schools" running prep sessions, but I can almost hear the reporter weaseling out of her that while she relied mostly on SPA seminars, yes, SLIS had a couple of valuable ones, too, that she would have loved had she attended them.

Kerry said...

It also backs up another point of their analysis--the powerhouse schools like IU, Michigan, Texas all have better placement rates. They are also the least library oriented and lean towards information science/management and technical skills. But with the market so crappy, should you spend $30-40k on the degree from one of those schools, or go cheap? I went cheap. I don't regret it.

drwende said...

Well, now you're back to the Big Philosophical Question of graduate education: is it better to be in the top 10% of graduates from a middling school or the middle 10% of graduates from a top school?

For speech-comm, I advised students to go with the best program that was happy to get them, as networking plays a huge role in academic employment, so it's always best to be one of the program's stars. With law schools, the rule for ordinary future lawyers is to go for the most prestigious school in the state where you want to practice. For professional programs, I haven't the foggiest.

thelady said...

I just noticed that the editorial for this issue is titled "Lousy Job Market, Great Career". Um, how is it a great career if you can't find a job? How is it a great career if institutions are so flooded with applicants that they can keep wages down? I am employed as a librarian, it is a decent job and I make decent wages. It is not a calling, I would not do this for free, I would not do this for less than I make now.
Keep in mind that these are stats for class of 2008, 2009 is worse.

Kerry said...

Annoyed Librarian took on the article today. It's good.

I agree, it's fulfilling work if you wind up in a good job, but it's not a great career because the market is so truly screwed up and the culture is problematic in multiple ways--it's sexist, primarily.

drwende said...

Annoyed Librarian does a fantastic hatchet job on that article.

She certainly makes the case that, except for a lucky few, it's not a career at all, but something to do for spare cash while the kids are at school, if selling on Etsy just isn't your style.

My back-of-the-envelope measure of whether a field is worthy of professional degree programs is whether one would make more money and get more respect as an administrative assistant who's at the same career stage.