The Modern Language Association (MLA) reports that faculty positions will decline 37 percent, the biggest drop since the group began tracking its job listings 35 years ago. The MLA is the largest group of language and literature scholars and professors in the world.
“Students thinking of going to graduate school in English should understand that right now their chance of landing a job that provides them a livable wage is 50-60 percent,” said Rosemary Feal, executive director of the M.L.A.
In previous years, there were about 1,000 to 2,000 jobs posted each year in English and the various foreign languages. This year, there is expected to be a 39 percent drop in such job posts.
Adding insult to injury is that tenure jobs are also decreasing. The economy, which has forced a number of colleges and universities to hire instructors on a per semester or per course basis, has contributed significantly to this decline. In addition, these short-term jobs offer no benefits and don’t pay that well.
Let’s hope that next year at this time, as the economy has yet another year of healing and growth under its belt, these figures will look a little rosier.