The return of ‘voluntary’ retirement: The academic labour market never gets any breathing room.

By Carson Jerema

Excerpt from: Macleans On Campus December 30th, 2009

Full article can be found at:

It wasn’t that long ago when the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada was predicting that we would need tens of thousands of extra PhD graduates. It was reasoned that growing demand for university combined with a mass exodus of baby boomer professors, would create a glut in the academic labour market. The message to government was fund more grad school spaces. The message to students was, forget about all that negative talk of spending five years in a doctorate program only to wind up in temporary sessional appointments. Now is the time to get that PhD.

It is not very novel to point out that, in light of the past year-and-a-half, this scenario seems like a sad joke. Students are indeed piling into grad programs, but largely as a relief from a brutal job market. As financial trouble appears to be dialing down in other sectors, problems continue unabated in the higher education sector. Universities have been making changes in response to economic realities that will ensure that a tight academic labour market will remain the norm long after the overall job market recovers.

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