Take the 2-minute tour ×
Academia Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for academics and those enrolled in higher education. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm interested in knowing what percentage of math phds actually succeed in landing a tenure track academic job?

Also, does a phd from AMS Group 1 guarantees you an academic job in top universities? If not what other factors come in to role to play?

share|improve this question
4  
This is not a particularly useful exercise. The success rate of the population will tell you little about YOUR chances of success. You are better off focusing on ways to improve YOUR chances. –  StrongBad Feb 26 '13 at 16:05
    
Yes, that's why I asked the second question. –  user774025 Feb 26 '13 at 16:12
1  
In Physics it's 2.7% according to Physics Today (quoting the number out of the top of my head, I can double-check tomorrow), and less than 1% become full professor. –  gerrit Feb 26 '13 at 22:05
1  
Also, keep in mind that the very first selection of who gets an academic job is who wants an academic job. –  gerrit Feb 26 '13 at 22:20
2  
NOTHING absolutely guarantees you an academic job in a top university. Not a PhD from Harvard, not a solo paper in the Annals (or Science or Nature or ...), not a Fields Medal. Nothing. –  JeffE Feb 26 '13 at 22:59
show 3 more comments

4 Answers 4

No. No one single factor guarantees you an academic job in a top university. Whether or not you land such a job is a combination of many things. These include,

  • talent
  • hard work
  • motivation
  • quality of research
  • quality of teaching
  • ability to network and get along with people
  • ability to communicate (both orally and in writing)
  • success in securing external funding
  • luck.

If you want such a job, here's what I recommend. Choose an area that you're passionate about, go to the best school (most challenging and "highest rated") that you can get into, and work with an adviser with a strong publication record. At each step along the way, surround yourself with (and learn as much as you can from) the most successful people possible.

You can find a partial answer to your question about percentage by reading the annual Survey of the Mathematical Sciences (by the American Math Society):

http://www.ams.org/profession/data/annual-survey/annual-survey

share|improve this answer
    
What exacty do you mean by talent,hard work and motivation? How can a employer measure these qualities? Is it by just looking at your quality of reasearch? –  user774025 Feb 26 '13 at 15:45
2  
By talent, I mean natural ability. By motivation, I mean desire to do whatever is necessary. And possibly the most important of all is hard work. Employers may not be able to measure these qualities directly, but they can measure the results of these qualities. For instance, if you work insanely hard, you're more likely to polish the writing in your papers, which will make them likely to get into better journals, etc. –  Dan C Feb 26 '13 at 15:51
    
motivation also wouldn't necessarily be evaluated or seen by an individual employer, but if you are more motivated, you put more effort into the job search, you apply to more schools, thus improving your chances of finding a position. –  Mr.Mindor Feb 26 '13 at 20:35
add comment

An additional parameter to consider is fashion: some research fields are deemed sexy and some aren't (and that assessment changes with time unpredictably!), and your chances of finding a position depend on the current perception of your field by the senior faculty.

share|improve this answer
add comment

As I said in the comments: The success rate of the population will tell you little about YOUR chances of success. You are better off focusing on ways to improve YOUR chances.

To answer the second part of the question, most hiring committees at top universities for tenure track jobs primarily considered your publication record, your ability to secure funding, and your fit to the department. The fit to the department is tricky. It generally includes either research area or ability to teach a class, but may also include departmental politics. Sometimes an applicant can be such a poor communicator (often discovered during the interview) or be a known pain in the ass that this can influence the decision, but generally the decision is based on publications, money and fit. I would venture to say that more often than not the rankings do not chance based on the interviews/campus visits.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I understood in the Netherlands somewhere around 5% ends up in a research position. This also includes people who after their PhD leave academia, so the percentage for those willing to continue is a bit higher. Ofcourse, as others already said, these general statistics do not say what your chances are, but it does illustrate that it is hard to find a position. In the Netherlands, it is important to get, apart from a good publication record, into a prestigious grants system (Venice, Vidi, Vici system). The first step is essentially a prestigious postdocs, the second leads to assistant professorship (fixed position), and the final one to full professorship. Getting into such a winning streak is important, successful projects make it easier to get new ones, I.e. the successful become more successful.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.