27 February 2024

Short Report on Employment: Where Do AAS Full Members Work?

Douglas Leonard San Diego State University

The AAS Demographics Committee, established in 2010, is charged with conducting a roughly biennial survey of the AAS membership. The questionnaire is sent out to a randomly selected half of the AAS membership, out of which typically about half respond; thus each survey reports on results obtained from about one-quarter of our Society's membership (current total ~6,400 members). The first three surveys were conducted in 2013, 2016, and 2018; the most recent report from the survey of 2021 was published in 2022.

While some of the 2021 survey questions concerned the impact of the pandemic (a topic for another short report), most of the rest of it repeated queries from prior surveys to increase the temporal baseline of the measurements in an effort to seek trends. What follows is a brief overview of the survey's results on the demographics of our Society's employment — in short, where do AAS members work?

The pie chart below shows the current reported sectors of employment for all full-time employed respondents with PhDs, excluding current postdocs. This represents a total of 855 members. The numbers indicate that the majority of AAS members' careers are concentrated in academe at universities and 4-year colleges, which employed over half (57%) of the respondents. This percentage — as well as the percentages in all other sectors — has remained remarkably stable over the 8 years of the survey, with no fluctuation of more than 4% occurring in any category across the four surveys, and with no evident trends. In fact, all sectors in the 2021 survey report values that are within 1% of the values reported in 2013.

University or 4-year college is the leading employer of US AAS Members with PhDs, 2021

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