Higher Education Employment Growth Continues to Outpace National Job Growth

May 29, 2012

Growth in a number of higher education jobs has been increasing steadily for several years. The first quarter of 2012 was no exception, but that growth does appear to be moderating, according to HigherEdJobs, a major source for jobs and career information in academia. President and co-Founder John Ikenberry said the growth in higher ed jobs is moderating after bucking the unemployment trend of the economic downturn.

"We noticed an increase in higher education jobs during the recession, but since the recession ended formally in 2010, we've now had a couple of years and it appears that bump up we were getting after the recession is starting to come down a bit," said Ikenberry.

Part of this could be because more colleges and universities are relying on part-time employees rather than taking on more faculty. Ikenberry said part-time hires seem like good deals for schools dealing with increasing enrollment.

"But at the same time their budgets aren't increasing at the same rate," he said, "so the part-time adjunct employees that they're hiring are pretty attractive because they end up paying them at a lower rate and unlike full-time employees, they can hire them as they need them."

An analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by HigherEdJobs found that the number of actual jobs in higher education grew 1.8% during the first quarter of 2012, compared to growth of 1.5% for all jobs. A year ago (in the first quarter of 2011) higher ed jobs grew by 2.6% compared to overall job growth of 1.1 %.