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Professional Sustainability: The Elephant in the Archives Dana Miller SAA Session #106 August 13, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional Sustainability: The Elephant in the Archives Dana Miller SAA Session #106 August 13, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional Sustainability: The Elephant in the Archives Dana Miller SAA Session #106 August 13, 2009

2 The Elephant in the Room According to Wikipedia: “The term refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue that is obvious, but which is ignored by a group of people, generally out of embarrassment or taboo. The idiom can imply a value judgment that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself.”

3 Archival sustainability and the questions we dare not ask… Who can afford to become an archivist in 2009? How bad is it out there? What does the job market look like? How long can I afford to remain an archivist? Why don’t we have more diversity in our ranks? Are there enough jobs to go around? Will I be able to find a permanent position? Does my organization really value the work I do if they do not fund my programs? What does it mean to work in a “feminized” profession?

4 Representatives from the Archives Career Spectrum Recent graduate: Michelle Bogart Early-career professional (3-5 years experience): Dana Miller University Archivist (Manager): Elizabeth Slomba Expatriate: Dayna Holz

5 Dissecting the Elephant- The Issues Insufficient Opportunity More temporary positions than permanent ones Limited advancement options inside current repository Not enough jobs to go around Lack of Diversity in the Workforce Archival Education Proliferation of graduate programs misleading prospective students into thinking steady employment is easier to attain Exorbitant cost of archival graduate education Not enough funding to help graduate students Low Salaries

6 Is this really an elephant? Analyze archives job announcements for January- July 2009 (last 7 months) to compose snapshot of current job market Review A-Census 2004 with special attention to salary, diversity, regional differences. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data and Comparisons- archivist profile, compared to librarian and secondary education teacher (ie public school teacher w/ a masters degree) Graduate archives programs- how many programs are there, how many graduates are they producing, how much do they cost to attend?

7 Job Market Snapshot Sources of Job Announcements: SAA Online Career Center ALA Joblist- “archives” search aggregator Eliminated duplicates, non-archives announcements, and unpaid opportunities My total: 114 unique job announcements Estimated total: 143 job announcements (including those not listed on my source sites)

8 Criteria by which I analyzed job announcements: Level and type of position Entry-level/Project/Processor: mainly processing Mid-level: non-management, duties beyond processing Manager/Director/Curator: mainly supervisory role Temporary vs. Permanent If temporary, how long? 1-3 years Type of repository Academic Historical Society Public Library Corporate/ Non-profit Government Geographic region Pay range

9 Job Announcements 2009: Type of Repository

10 Job Announcements 2009: by Region West: 14 jobs (12.3 %) Mountain States: 11 jobs (9.6%) Midwest: 22 jobs (19.3%) Southwest: 11 jobs (9.6%) South: 21 jobs (18.5%) East: 35 jobs (30.7%)

11 Job Announcements: Types/Levels

12 Insufficient Opportunity: Temporary vs. Permanent Positions Of temporary positions, half were 2 year projects, nearly half were 1 year or less, and only 5 were 3 years. Job Announcements 2009

13 Insufficient Opportunity: Temporary vs. Permanent Positions Of 47 entry level project or processing jobs, 25 were temporary Of 43 mid-level jobs, 6 were temporary Of 24 management jobs, 1 was temporary Job Announcements 2009

14 Insufficient Opportunity: Limited options to advance within one’s current organization Job announcements not informative on this issue Obvious: not everyone can expect to be the boss A-Census 2004 expects large numbers of Baby Boomers reporting they plan to retire in “3-9 years” (from 2004) Not every position that is vacated through retirement will continue to exist at that repository Many must leave their current repository in order to move up Can you hold on until 2013?

15 Insufficient Opportunity: Not enough to go around There were only approx.127-143 job announcements over 7 months (versus how many job seekers?) Other evidence: Archivists leave the profession every year – not because they want to, but out of necessity. Recent graduates commonly spend 6 months to a year job-hunting after graduation A-Census 2004: despite an anticipated workforce shortage upon Baby Boomer retirement, there is at present a dire shortage of available archives jobs. Shared problem with librarians and historians.

16 Lack of Diversity As a profession archives is composed of only 7% minorities, as opposed to 25% of the general population. The largest identifiable group is African Americans at under 3%. Approximately 80% of all archives program graduate students in 2004 were white; 90% for full-time students. Among students, men were only 16% of the population. --Brenda Banks A-Census, p. 490 Special Section on Diversity

17 Archival Education The MLIS is now the accepted standard entry method (formerly it was on-the-job training) Too many programs? Too many graduates? Cost of attendance is often exorbitant or prohibitive, out of proportion to average earning capacity Not enough funding for students A need for more scholarships Is it ethical to accept students who may never work in the field?

18 Archival Education: Too many graduates, not enough jobs Listed on SAA website: San Jose State University UCLA Indiana University at Bloomington Loyola University Chicago Louisiana State University University of Maryland Simmons College University of Michigan Wayne State Long Island University New York University Pratt Institute St. John’s University SUNY Albany North Caroline State University Kent State Drexel University University of Pittsburgh Temple University East Tennessee State University Western Washington University University of Wisconsin, Madison University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Not listed on SAA website: University of Texas, Austin University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

19 Archival Education: The Cost of Tuition for the Top 5 Programs * Estimates are based on 3 semesters and do not include any living expenses or fees. UT Austin: $17,800 in-state, $33,800 non-resident U Michigan: $32,700 in-state, $66,100 non-resident U Pittsburgh: $24,900 in-state, $44,000 non-resident UCLA: $16,000 in-state, $25,700 non-resident U Maryland: $17,000 in-state, $36,600 non-resident *According to U.S. News Rankings 2009

20 Salaries: Job Announcements 2009 Starting Salaries Of the 57 job announcements that included salary information, approx. 70% of the starting salaries were between $35,000 and $50,000. 10% offered less than $35,000 and 20% offered more than $54,000.

21 Salaries: A-Census 2004 Data Average Salaries Reported $20K or less: 2.6% (about 100 respondents) (p 371 also) $20K-$29K: roughly 10% (just over 400 respondents) $30K-$39K: 22% (almost 1000 respondents) $40K-$49K: 22% (almost 1000 respondents) $50K-$59K: 14% (600 respondents) $60K-$69K: 9% (just under 400 respondents) with the remaining 25% spread between ranges from $70K and over. --A-Census p. 371 The $30,000 to $49,000 ranges were the most common pay ranges in 2004, reported by 44% percent of the respondents. As compared to my 2009 job market analysis which showed that 70% of archives positions had a starting salary between $35,000-$50,000. The mean salary of all archivists in 2004 was $49,329. --A-Census

22 Salaries: Job Announcements 2009 High End of Salary Ranges 38 job announcements listed a range rather than a minimum or flat number. As follows: 1 job topped out at $32K. 4 jobs topped out between $38K-$42K 3 jobs topped out between $43K-$46K 6 jobs topped out between $49K-$50K 3 jobs topped out between $52K-$55K 3 jobs topped out between $59K-$62K 5 jobs topped out between $64K-$67K 7 jobs topped out between $72K-$78K 6 jobs at the top of the pay scale topped out between $90K and $132K, with one very high level job going up to $162K

23 Salaries: Is your collar pink? A-Census 2004: 65% of respondents were female mean salary for men in FY2003 was $55,302 mean salary for women was $46,604 --A-Census, p. 371 Largely dependent upon what types of repositories women work at versus men and what type of work they perform, as well as slightly more men in management positions. Feminized or “pink collar” professions like nursing and teaching are historically underpaid, undervalued. Throughout A-Census, it is clear that minorities also make slightly lower salaries than average, for many of the same reasons.

24 Salaries: Regional breakdown Mid-Atlantic: 56,517 Upper Mid-Atlantic: $50,632 (PA, NJ) South Mid-Atlantic: $63,687 (DC, MD, DE, WV) West: 55,403 (CA, NV, HI) New England: 49,365 (ME, VT, NH, RI, MA, CT) Northwest (WA, OR, AK): $48,905 Mountain: 46,815 (ID, MT, WY, CO, UT) Midwest: $46,296 Great Lakes: $47,632 (IL, IN, MICH, MINN, OH, WI) Plains: $43,226 (ND, SD NE, KS, IO, MO) Southwest: $43,901 (AZ, NM, TX, OK) South Atlantic: 43,217 (FL, GA, SC, NC, VA) South Central: 41,801 (AL, AR, KE, LA, MS, TN) --A-Census p. 373

25 Salaries: Know your neighborhood Determining your cost of living is vital… $50,000 in Oakland, CA = $45,000 in Boston, MA = $42,500 in Boulder, CO and Seattle, WA = $38,000 in Chicago, IL = $35,000 in Laramie, WY and Milwaukee, WI; = $30,000 in Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO. But you would need $75,500 to live at the same standard in Manhattan. CNN Money cost of living calculator’s Salary Wizard reports the median expected salary for a typical “document librarian.” What other tools do you use?

26 Salaries: Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2009 5,330 Archivists: mean annual salary $48,220 10,820 Curators: mean annual salary $51,540 151,170 Librarians: mean annual salary $54,700 Mean annual salaries for teachers, nationwide: 1,544,270 Elementary school teachers: $52,240 661,820 Middle school teachers: $52,570 1,090,490 Secondary school teachers: $54,390

27 Helping the archives profession to love you back… Increase opportunity! All archivists, but especially managers, can advocate more loudly for our programs, and do more effective outreach. Managers can advocate for permanent processor positions in appropriate repositories. Increase diversity! Archives leaders could work towards diversity by embracing the suggestions of A-Census experts. Rethink the approach to education! Graduate programs could limit the number of students they accept each year. More scholarships and graduate funding can be made a priority. Better salaries! SAA could follow the lead of larger sister organizations In June 2008, the ALA passed a resolution endorsing a non-binding minimum salary of $41,680 for professional librarians. Require job announcements to include some salary information. Job seekers can more assertively advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries.

28 Outreach is Key No matter the issue, Outreach is Key… “The fact that there is an abhorrent lack of knowledge about who we are and what we do continues to be a major drawback for recruitment for the profession in general. While other professions have launched major public awareness campaigns, we are hiding in the stacks waiting to be discovered by the best and brightest students. It is the responsibility of professional organizations as well as archival institutions to make drastic changes in our attitude, and to remedy the lack of action in this area.” --Brenda Banks, A-Census 491

29 So long, elephant in the room…

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