So, how bad is the job market?

Posted on April 9, 2008 under public history jobs

The public history job market is so bad right now that a job was recently posted that admitted “salary is minimum.”

It’s so bad that a job was recently posted offering a yearly salary of $14,000.

If our field can’t support a trained professional for much more than the minimum wage, how sustainable is it?  We’re heading for a fall, folks.  Both federal and foundation funding is down (except for the IMLS–thanks, Mrs. Bush).  Our traditional volunteer base is dying.  Recent studies indicate that a majority of nonprofit executive directors are planning to leave in the next 10-15 years, and a majority of young people working at nonprofits are planning to leave the sector.    We’re going to see a wave of local history museum closings, and we’re going to see it soon, unless we tackle some major structural issues around funding, staffing, consolidation and sustainability.

4 Comments on “So, how bad is the job market?”

  1. Well said, Suzanne, even if it is an ugly truth. The question is: Does society find what museums do to be important enough to want to fund them?

  2. Larry: Yes, that’s why I’m getting out!

    Mary: It’s unclear. Museums don’t usually have the same community connections as libraries, which face similar funding struggles but generally get grassroots support when cuts are announced. The diversity of history museums makes it hard to speak about; but recent research ( seems to indicate that there is a core group of people that really supports our work.

  3. try being a 50 year old laid off truck driver.
    was offered a job driving….16 cents a mile !!
    i made that in the late 70’s !!!
    drove trucks for 30 years..
    never in my life , have i seen so many drivers lose their job’s.
    its just flat scary.

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