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Higher Education Job Openings and Employment Surge in 2010

by Lisa Jordan, HigherEdJobs

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Advertised job openings in higher education surged 44.4 percent in 2010 compared to a decline of 27.2 percent in 2009, according to the newly released Higher Education Employment Report from HigherEdJobs.

The growth in higher education job postings appears to be consistent with increases in the number of jobs for the sector. Higher education employment growth continued to follow historical trends during the fourth quarter of 2010, virtually unaffected by the national economic recovery or the recession that preceded it. Higher education employment grew 3.2 percent during Q4 and was up 3.1 percent for the year, both record highs since at least 2005.

"Higher education continues to be one of the more stable sectors of our economy," says John Ikenberry, president of HigherEdJobs. "Throughout the recession, the number of jobs in academia continued to grow. And, while advertised job openings in higher education decreased significantly during the recession, they have since rebounded strongly and are now above pre-recessionary levels."

The report also found that colleges and universities continued to focus on recruiting administrators and executives over faculty, a trend that began with the declared end of the recession. In absolute numbers, however, recruitment for all position types, including faculty, is up. Also, reliance on part-time positions -- as manifested by increases in part-time job postings during the recession -- has moderated as the economy begins to recover.

In addition, hiring and employment at community colleges continued to be strong in Q4 2010 and throughout 2010, although with changes in Congress, the recent focus on community colleges may fade.

From a geographic perspective, higher education job postings increased in all regions of the country, with the greatest growth observed in the Mountain and New England regions, and the weakest in the West South Central area.

The report examines job posting data from colleges and universities that have been continuously subscribed to the company's unlimited posting plan for four years or longer, a cohort of over 700 schools, as well as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.