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Conference Board Analysis

In November, Online Job Ads Rise in Science-Related Fields

In November, the upward trend continued in the number of online job ads in science-related categories — and in job ads overall. But in science and in the broader economy, the gains were modest. The Conference Board, a private business and economic research institute, provides these data, which are tracked monthly by Science Careers.

In the science-related categories we track, the number of ads posted online rose by 1% in November, or 14,400, compared to October. In the economy overall, the number of ads increased by 1.1%, or 47,400 ads. No science-related category did especially well in November, though heath care practitioners and technical added 2.2% to the number of ads posted online. That marks the second straight month of gains for that category after several months of declining prospects. All the other science-related categories were either flat or showed very small changes.

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And in October — the last month for which detailed
unemployment data is
available — the ratio of the number of unemployed people looking for work to the number of online ads changed very little, overall and in science-related categories.

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While this marks yet another flat month for science job opportunities, two things are worth noting. The first is that the ratio of ads to job-seekers — a measure of job-market competitiveness — is far lower (0.7) in science-related categories than it is in the economy as a whole (3.4), indicating that jobs in science-related fields are easier to find than jobs generally. 

The second is that the outlook for job seekers is much better than it was a year ago. In November 2010, the number of online ads in science-related categories was 29% higher than it was in November 2009. In the life, physical, and social sciences — the category most important for most Science Careers readers — the number of job ads in November 2010 was nearly 40% higher than a year earlier.