AEA Guidance on Timeline for 2021-22 Economics Job Cycle
September 16, 2021
To: Members of the American Economic Association and Economics Department Chairs
From: Peter L. Rousseau, Secretary-Treasurer
Subject: AEA Guidance on Timeline for 2021-22 Economics Job Cycle
The AEA Executive Committee, in conjunction with its ad hoc Committee on the Job Market, recognizes that it is to the benefit of the profession if the job market for economists is thick, with many employers and job candidates participating in the same stages at the same time. Moreover, the AEA's goals of fairness, inclusion, and diversity are fostered by having a timeline that remains widely accepted, even as public health conditions necessitate a virtual ASSA meeting again this year. With these goals in mind, and in light of inquiries from both students and departments about how to proceed, the Association asks that departments and other employers consider the following timeline for initial interviews and “flyouts” in the upcoming job cycle.
The AEA suggests that employers wait to extend interview invitations until at least Thursday, December 2, 2021.
Rationale: the AEA will deliver signals from job candidates to employers on December 1. We suggest that employers review those signals and incorporate them into their decision-making before extending interview invitations. Job candidates from under-represented groups may lack informal networks and thus, may especially rely on the signals to convey their interest. Waiting to review the signals before issuing invitations promotes a fairer, more equitable process.
We also ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended interview invitations; this allows candidates to learn about the status of searches without visiting websites posting crowd-sourced information and potentially inappropriate other content.
The AEA suggests that employers conduct initial interviews starting on Monday, January 3, 2022, and that all interviews take place virtually; i.e. either by phone or online (e.g. by Zoom). We suggest that interviews not take place during the AEA meeting itself (January 7-9, 2022).
Rationale: In the past, interviews were conducted in person at the AEA/ASSA meetings. This promoted thickness of the market, because most candidates and employers were present at the in-person meetings, but had the disadvantage of precluding both job candidates and interviewers from fully participating in AEA/ASSA sessions. Given that the 2022 AEA/ASSA meetings will be entirely virtual, we suggest that interviews NOT take place on the meeting dates to allow job candidates and interviewers to participate in the conference.
We recommend that employers wait until January 3 to interview candidates because job candidates may have teaching or TA responsibilities in December, and to ensure that candidates have accurate expectations of the timing of the stages of the market. An unraveling of the market works against the Association’s goal of having a thick market at each stage and also against candidates having uniform expectations of the market’s timing. All interviews should be conducted by phone or online to prevent risk of exposure to COVID, and to promote equity among the candidates.
Flyouts and offers
Flyouts and offers generally happen at times appropriate for the employer, and the AEA sees no reason to suggest otherwise. We ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended flyout invitations and closed their searches.
Job market institutions and mechanisms
Please keep in mind the various job market institutions and mechanisms created by the AEA to improve the job market:
The JOE Network includes a database of job openings for economists.
Employers may sign up here: https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/employer.
Job candidates may search the database here: https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/listings.
The JOE Network has an electronic clearinghouse for job candidates to submit job applications. Job candidates may register here: https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/candidate.
The AEA ad hoc Committee on the Job Market releases data and guidance on the job market here: https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/communications.
EconTrack: a board on which employers can indicate when they have extended interview and flyout invitations, and closed their search: https://www.aeaweb.org/econtrack.
EconSpark: a moderated forum in which one can discuss topics of interest to the profession, including the job market: https://www.aeaweb.org/forum/categories.
Thank you for your attention to this initiative.