Skip to main content

Career Q&A: What jobs are easy to find?

Written by: Daniel Ginsberg
Published on: Aug 10, 2021

White Scrabble tiles on a black background spell out these intersecting words: career, employment, position, hiring.

"Scrabble - Career" by flazingo_photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a real question I received lately from a contingent faculty member looking to leave academia, and the real answer I provided. I’m reproducing it with their consent, and I’ve changed the details to preserve their anonymity.

Simple Question: What are full-time jobs that any anthropologist should be able to easily find and be hired for without any further training? Bonus points for permanent positions.

That is a simple question with a very complicated answer. To begin with, I want to think a little about "any anthropologist." On your faculty web page, I see that your area of interest is listed as "media, youth, race, political theory, social network analysis," while mine is "sociocultural linguistics, educational linguistics, linguistic anthropology, organizational ethnography, semiotics." There may be some jobs that we would both be interested in, but given that our styles of anthropology are so different, I'd imagine that we have different skills and interests more generally, so you wouldn't necessarily want a job that I would want and vice versa. You're not looking for a job "for anthropologists," you're looking for a job for you. There are loads of jobs that anthropologists find, enjoy and excel at that didn't list anthropology as a necessary skill set or qualification, but that person found a way to show the hiring manager that they were the right person, and then come on staff and make it their own.

Related to that, when you say "be hired for without any further training," I presume you mean "without any degrees or certificates beyond their anthropology degree." Having completed a PhD, I wouldn't want to feel I had to go back to school again either! Unfortunately, other than being a professor of anthropology, there aren't really any jobs for which a degree in anthropology is necessary and sufficient (and a stable academic job isn't one you can easily find and be hired for), but that isn't to say you need additional training or credentials. It's more like how Gretchen McCulloch talks about "linguistics + X," where the X is some topic or issue or context of practice where you're making your linguistics relevant (or your anthropology—that article is a good read for non-linguists as well). For example, when I was recently interviewing applicants to work with me as education program manager at the American Anthropological Association, the strongest candidates weren't the best anthropologists, they were the ones who best demonstrated expertise in both anthropology and education.

So to the last component of your question, "easily," it isn't easy, but that's not because the jobs don't exist. It's because it takes some research, some legwork and some imagination to identify them.

Got questions of your own? Click on, choose Anthropology education and careers from the drop-down menu, and please specify if it's OK to share.