Saturday, August 30, 2014

Update on the number of women hired

Update: The numbers below have been updated thanks to the careful verification of the anonymous commenter and the updated status of the UCSB and Illinois hires (Ruth Murray-Clay and Ryan Foley, respectively). 

Last year I wrote a post about the number of women hired based on the Astronomy Rumor Mill. Sure, this is an incomplete database, but it is our go-to source of information about the recently hired. Here's a quick update based on hires made this past job cycle. 

As before, I only selected jobs at US institutions because non-US institutional listings are incomplete on the Rumor Mill. I selected only the final decisions for each search, usually denoted in bold text. While the short lists are typically very inaccurate, I've found that the bolded accepted offers are a fair representation of reality. Last year there were a total of 67 hires, of which 37.3% were women. Not bad! This was encouraging because it tracked the percentage of women enrolled in Astronomy PhD programs, which has hovered around 33% over the past decade.

With that background info in mind, here are this year's stats. Unfortunately for everyone in astronomy, the number of total offers is down from 67 to 40 (ouch!). However, the percentage of women has actually increased slightly this year:

Number of men hired:          24
Number of women hired:        16
Percentage female (2014)      40%

My take-away from this is that the job market is looking as bad as ever. However, institutions are doing a much better job of providing a roughly equal opportunity for both genders, broadly speaking, which is encouraging.