Sociology PhDs need more professional options.

In 2019, 632 sociologists earned a PhD.1 But only 289 Tenure-Track Assistant Professor positions were available.2 In 2020, as COVID further fractured the academic job market, the situation was even worse. Only 128 Tenure-Track Assistant Professor positions were available that year,3 far fewer than the 607 Sociology PhDs awarded.4

And even the relative few Sociology PhDs who obtain academic employment often experience constrained pay. The mean salary for Assistant Professors in Sociology departments in 2019-2020 was $66,606.5 Mean sociology faculty salaries are lowest among other social scientific disciplines, including anthropology, economics, and political science.6

But sociologists’ salaries in positions outside academia are different. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists working in state government (excluding schools and hospitals) earned median annual salaries of $105,120 in 2020, and those working in professional, scientific, and technical services, research and development, and in management of companies and enterprises earned median annual salaries between $98,000 and $100,000.7

At Lacuna Analytics, we help social science graduate departments evolve to meet the topography of the current job market.

Drs. Albright and Scardaville have gathered data from more than 620 Sociology PhDs working outside academia to understand (1) the rationale, choices, and strategies of sociologists navigating careers outside academia and (2) more effective ways of training sociologists for work outside academia. This is the largest known sample ever collected from this population. Their insights are the foundation of Lacuna’s work.