The Library Journal 2012 Placements & Salaries Survey was released on the 15th, marking another year of job-hunting hardship, offset somewhat by the claim that starting salaries are increasing. A glance at the data shows:
2162 responding graduates from 41 schools, half of whom have found permanent professional employment (no word as to whether permanent connotes full time status). Of the rest, 22% are working temporary or nonprofessional positions in libraries, and 28% are unemployed or working outside the field.
My alma mater, Kent State University, seems to be pumping out graduates far faster than they can be placed, with 251 graduates and only 81 employed (a 32% placement rate, yikes!). Other schools are in the same boat, but Illinois, Iowa and Michigan are all doing enviably well with placement rates above 80%.
While it would be great to see higher placement rates, as someone who job searched for two years post-graduation the numbers do not look entirely discouraging. Almost 73% of the 2011 graduating class reports at least working in the library field, if not as a professional. That seems to be an improvement, and maybe also a sign that job seekers are being more creative and flexible.
When it comes to salaries, however, I begin to question the veracity of the study. All of the salary data is purported to represent full time positions, and yet three of the 12 lowest salaries reported are below federal minimum wage. The $44,500 national average starting salary seems quite inflated too, at least when referencing personal experience.
Regardless, I’m sure the majority of us are quite happy to land a part time or full time position paying whatever is sufficient to cover the bills, as long as the job requirements include MLIS.