East Asia-related Job Market Data Report (2021-2022)

Published July 31, 2022

This page compiles information and visualizations on academic-oriented job postings related to East Asia during the 2021-2022 hiring season (from approximately June 2021 to July 2022). For more information on how and why I began this project, please see my first visualization page for the 2019-2020 academic job cycle.

For the sake of convenience and to address any changes in my methods since last year, below I will reproduce my explanations on data collection from last year’s cycle, with new elements added in bold and/or marked with a star ★.

To jump directly to the visualizations, click here.

I hope that the information provided on this page will facilitate further dialogue on current and future developments in the East Asian Studies fields and will be used by departments and individuals to advocate for this area of study at their institutions. If you have any questions about the data or would like to request specific visualizations for departmental reports, grant requests, or other proposals (or have used my work for this purpose already), please do not hesitate to contact me.

About the Data: Sources

The data gathered for this exploration originated from numerous websites (★ newly incorporated this job cycle):

This data should NOT be considered 100% comprehensive (see caveats below), merely reflective of information provided on some of the most commonly-used job search portals for academic postings related to East Asia by scholars in the Anglophone world.

About the Data: Caveats

As with previous reports, let me first say that data is messy. This is a reflection on the job ads themselves, which are even messier. A job ad might ask for something fairly specific, like a historian of contemporary China focusing on the environmental humanities, or simply list “East Asian Studies” with no additional information on a desired time period, specialization, or other qualifications. Because job ads are inconsistent in the terminology used to describe some academic positions, I have chosen not to do a vocabulary-based comparison on desired disciplinary expertise. However, if you are interested in exploring the key terms that appeared in job ads for the 2021-2022 market cycle, you can find a searchable table of them here. For the purposes of producing this dataset, job ad language was taken at face value, and cannot account for any internal criteria that informed the scope of searches. How data is represented is also interpreted through the compiler. Others might have organized or categorized this data differently than I have.

Although I continue to increase the number of sources I use to locate job advertisements and solicit postings from colleagues outside of Anglophone circles, the data presented here is also reflective of both an English-language and North American bias. Many of the sites examined tend to focus on those positions, and others presented in other languages are only infrequently submitted to these venues. Some postings also may pass through informal channels only or through alternative lists to which I do not have access. Furthermore, some schools either do not or cannot afford to post their job openings through more widely-known channels.

This list also may not be exhaustive with regards to jobs that one might consider “alt-ac” or “academic adjacent,” as I focused to the best of my ability on those ads that readily circulated on academic job searching platforms.

This year I incorporated job advertisements posted between June 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022. Given the number of additional jobs that were posted late into the season last year, I felt it would be helpful to extend my collection period by an extra month to ensure as many relevant posts were included in the initial report as possible.

About the Data: Cleaning and Organization

In an effort to produce meaningful visualizations comparing different job ads, I created eight different data categories. To review what each category and its accompanying labels mean (and how they were determined), click the individual tabs below.

The geographic location of the hiring institution.
The continental region in which the hiring institution is located.
The geographic regional coverage for which the job ad identified a preference. East Asian Studies and many humanities fields cite a primary region or nation of interest in their advertisements, whereas many social science fields have begun to replace regional or national focus with methodological preferences.

This category was narrowed down from the ad content when possible. For example, if an ad listed “East Asian Studies/Asian Studies” for the title or topic of the position, but specified “preference for a candidate who can teach modern China,” then this posting’s “desired region” was labeled as “China.” Ads that included a particular combination of locations are identified separately. This year I have further refined these categories to reflect distinctions between ads that use "or" and "and" when requesting regional specializations in order to make more clear whether two options or both options are preferred. Job ads that were vague, such as positions in “non-Western” or “global” studies were not included. Northeast Asia was the central focus of job data collected.

- Asia (Pacific)
- Asia and Africa ★
- China
- China and Africa ★
- East Asia, Asia
- Hong Kong
- Japan
- Japan and China ★
- Japan or China ★
- Japan and Korea ★
- Japan or Korea ★
- Korea
- Taiwan

Categories unused this year:

- China, Inner Asia
- China, Korea
- China, South Asia
- China, Southeast Asia
- Hong Kong, China
Data on the desired discipline identified in job ads was divided into labels that best distinguish the responsibilities of the position, based on the department hiring and/or description of the qualifications. Disciplines for which few postings were area-specific or that often advertise together (such as Political Science, Anthropology, and Sociology) are combined in the interest of visual legibility. The social sciences, in particular, pose challenges to data collection, as they do not often advertise region- or nation-specific positions.

Another challenge division is “Literature & Culture” and “East Asian/Asian Studies.” Often generalist positions in East Asian Studies are filled by specialists in literature and culture, complicating this division. Here, I have chosen to separate general positions that do not list a specific interest in literature/culture from job ads that specifically ask for a literature/culture specialist. Similarly, although there is often overlap between generalist instructors and language instructors at small institutions, the “Language” category applies to jobs exclusively looking for language instructors, and those ads seeking sub-specialization in translation, interpretation, or linguistics have been given their own category this year.</b>

Ten categories were altered or added this year (marked with a ★). These changes add more variety and clarity to the disciplinary categories included.
- Administration, Program Director
- Any
- Archaeology
- Art History, Architecture, Urban Studies
- Business ★ separated from Economics this year
- Digital Studies
- East Asian, Asian Studies
- Economics ★ separated from Business this year
- Editorial ★
- Education ★
- Environmental Studies ★
- Film Studies, Media Studies
- Geography ★
- History
- Language
- Librarian, Library Services
- Linguistics
- Literature & Culture
- Museum, Curator, Conservation
- Music, Musicology
- Performing Arts, Drama ★
- Philosophy
- PoliSci, Anthro, Socio
- Public Health
- Public History ★
- Religious Studies
- Social Studies/Education
- Theatre, Performing Arts ★
- Translation, Interpretation ★ combined categories this year
The time period of the specialist desired in the job advertisement.

- modern
- premodern (early modern [c. 18th/19th cen] and before)
- any (not specified or no preference)
- N/A (e.g.: most language instructors, administrative positions, etc.)
The track/security of the position. Contingent positions have been divided into jobs that are non-tenure track positions and postdocs, as the former typically applies to visiting or contracted positions and the latter often applies to research positions, sometimes with minimal teaching responsibilities. Adjunct positions, being extremely difficult to track and variable in their contract terms, are not included in this data.

- TT (tenure track)
- non-TT (non-tenure track, contingent position; at least 1 year of full time job security)
- postdoc (non-tenure track, contingent position)
- N/A (jobs to which the specification of tenure or non-tenure track does not apply)

The labeling of institutions is based on its research output and degree-granting programs. This is perhaps the most problematic of the data organized, as, for the sake of comparison, each institution has been forced to fit into the rough equivalent of the US categories based on The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The Carnegie classifications do NOT consistently correlate with institutional rankings (also problematic). For UK-based institutions, I established R1 equivalents based on the Russell Group categories, and for Australia, the Group of Eight. For universities in Asia and Europe, I consulted with colleagues based in those areas and provided a best guess based on anecdotal advice. I fully acknowledge that these distinctions are problematic and are often considered subjective.

The most meaningful observations may be derived from considering the extremes-- whether jobs appear more often at very large doctoral degree-granting institutions or small liberal arts institutions.

Two new categories have been added to reflect the different types of institutions where jobs are available that may be outside the academic or tenure-track system system. "Institute" may refer to research organizations, think tanks or other academic-oriented programs that are not explicit extensions of government programs. Such institutions are now labeled "government."

- R1 - very high research, doctoral program
- R1 regional branch - branch campuses of R1 institutions located in the US or abroad
- R2 - high research, doctoral program
- D/PU - Doctoral/Professional Universities
- M1 - high research, masters program
- M2 - medium research, masters program
- SLAC - small liberal arts college
- museum
- non-profit
- government ★
- institute ★
- N/A

The type of institution. N/A indicates it is something different from a typical academic degree-granting institution, such as a language training school, etc.

- public
- private
- N/A

The Data

Please review the caveats and labeling system provided above before viewing the data in order to best understand how and why it has been cleaned and organized as presented below.

Please note that although comparisons will be made with last year’s dataset below, I work to improve my data collection every year, so one should be cautious not to interpret these numbers as absolute or infallible.

Below, I have created several (non-exhaustive) visualizations based on my data using Tableau Public. Please note that postdocs were counted by the number of positions offered at a single university. For example, Yale University’s Council on East Asian Studies hires four postdocs per year for its general CEAS postdoc, so this is counted as four positions.

The data collected for the 2021-2022 academic job cycle totaled 909 job advertisements globally. This marks an increase of 246 job ads from the year prior. Of the 2021-2022 advertisements, the majority (482 ads, or 53%) were openings at North American institutions. Last year there were 288 ads across North America. Asia continued to be the second highest employer (286 ads, or 31.5%; last year: 210 ads), followed by Europe (131 ads, or 14.4%; last year: 121 ads). There were 7 ads in Oceania (last year 12 ads) and 3 ads that specified no region in particular for the recipient.

Given the hiring freezes and pandemic-related economic troubles of many institutions, it is possible that the uptick in the total number of jobs seen this year could reflect a slight recovery from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this will be more certain after another year of data collection.

North America hosts over half of hires in East Asian Studies worldwide. Yet, in North America, only roughly 1/4th of all job ads in East Asian Studies are tenure track (a ratio of 25/75). In Asia, the ratio of secure and insecure positions is closer to 60/40, and in Europe it is closer to 50/50.

In keeping with last year’s trends, although North American institutions advertised the most jobs, the majority of the positions offered lacked job security. Tenure-track positions (TTs) accounted for only 27.4% of North American job ads, while contingent positions (postdocs and non-tenure track positions [non-TTs]) combined were 57.7% of advertised positions. If one were to exclude positions that are typically contingent or outside the tenure stream (language, administration, information science, editors, curators) the comparison is 45% TT vs. 53.8% contingent, with contingent positions still outnumbering secure academic jobs.

North America hosted 278 (63.3%) of the 493 contingent positions worldwide, with 205 being non-TTs rather than postdocs. 267 ads for contingent positions were located in the United States; the US therefore accounted for 60.8% of the insecure positions offered globally this year.

In the 2020-2021 cycle, 20.3% of positions in North America were TTs and 69.8% of positions were contingent, so this year has seen a slight increase in TTs to 27.4% and a decrease in contingent positions to 57.7%.

Turning to Asia, 172 of 286 job advertisements were tenure track (or the rough equivalent, as many countries employ slightly different systems) and 103 job advertisements were contingent, with postdocs (48 ads) being almost equal to non-TTs (55 ads). This means that 60.1% of the positions in Asia were tenure track and 36% were contingent. Comparing the TTs to non-TTs in last year’s cycle, for 2020-2021, 123 ads (56.7%) in Asia were for TTs vs. 83 ads (38.2%) that were for contingent positions.

The majority of job ads from Asia this year were located in Japan (141 ads), Hong Kong (65 ads), and China (27 ads). Hong Kong had a slight increase from last year’s 57 ads, while China had a slight decrease from 38 ads. Singapore had a notable jump from 8 ads to 19 ads, and South Korea a decline from 20 ads to 9 ads.

The number of jobs located in Japan rose significantly, which is likely a result of better data collection methods (the Bungaku Report sends bi-weekly summaries of job ads at Japanese institutions). In contrast, inquiries to colleagues in other areas of Asia did not reveal any particularly centralized job ad venues, and many remarked that some countries tended not to advertise openings in favor of internal hires, which makes direct comparisons by country difficult. Please do contact me with any recommendations for more accurate data collection on ads in other areas of Asia.

For Europe, the number of advertisements and their ratios of tenure track to contingent positions remained approximately the same across the last two job market cycles. With 131 advertisements this year, 57 ads (43.5%) were tenure track and 54 ads (41.2%) were contingent (21 non-TT and 33 postdocs). In the 2020-2021 cycle, which featured 139 ads, there were 58 TTs (41.7%) and 72 contingent (51.8%) positions, also marking a slight improvement in secure over insecure jobs. The vast majority of ads were located in the United Kingdom again this year, with 84 ads total, vs. 96 ads last year.
The following visualization is an interactive map of all East Asia-related job postings by discipline, time period, track, and location. Clicking on information anywhere on the visualization or on the map below will generate its linked data across other fields. Hover over data points on the map to reveal information on the data point provided. Zooming in or out is also possible. Points on the map are sized to frequency, so an institution with more job postings will appear larger than other locations.

Click the title of the subcategory you're filtering or the area of the visualization you originally selected to void your selection and start over. Tableau Public can be finicky, so it may take a little experimentation. If interactive visualizations lag or generate an error, please refresh this page and try again.

Globally, the most jobs were advertised for Chinese Studies specialists, followed by Japanese Studies specialists. This trend is in keeping with last year. There was no significant change in the relative amount of East Asia/Asia generalist positions. Jobs in Korean Studies are 4-5x fewer than those in Chinese or Japanese Studies.

Considering all 909 jobs, broken down into the region of specialization desired by the advertising department (including positions that do not necessarily fall into primarily academic fields), expertise in China was the leading area of interest, followed closely by Japan and then East Asia or Asia in general. This trend remained the same from last year's job cycle.

The totals for China and Japan were more comparable than in the previous year, with this cycle having 323 ads specifically for China (35.5%) and 287 for Japan (31.6%) while last year had 276 for China (41.6%) and 168 for Japan (25.3%). The percentage of East Asia/Asia regional demand remained roughly the same, with 196 ads (21.6%) this year and 130 ads (19.6%) last year. Korea as a desired region also lagged significantly behind the others in both job market cycles, with 69 ads for Korea (7.6%) this year and 56 ads for Korea (8.4%) last year, though it is worth noting an overall increase in the number of postings.

Would the China vs. Japan percentages hold true without the aforementioned bias of improved data collection for jobs located in Japan? It is worth briefly examining two of the highest countries of employment in East Asian Studies, the US and the UK, to consider this issue. If we compare the percentage of China specialization and Japan specialization job advertisements in the United States, we find 34.6% China-specific ads in the US versus 28.7% for Japan (a 5.9% difference, with last year’s difference being 12.7%). For the United Kingdom, we find that China-specific ads comprise 47.6%, and Japan 19% (compared to 51% and 15.6% last year). So while we might say that the margin between China and Japan jobs narrowed overall this year, on a country-by-country basis (that accounts for data skewed in favor of Japan in the overall calculations) the narrowing of that margin is not quite as drastic as the global data may make it appear.

During last year’s market cycle there were a number of ads looking for combined regional requests that focused on other areas of Asia, such as China/South Asia (2 ads), China/Southeast Asia (1 ad), China/Inner Asia (1 ad). This year South Asia/Southeast Asia/Inner Asia did not appear in job ads, though there was an increase in the number of postings that wanted multiple areas of East Asia as a specialization. In 2020-2021 there were 4 such advertisements as well as 1 ad looking for China/Africa. For the 2021-2022 cycle, there were 7 ads for combined areas of East Asia and 4 ads for China/Africa. Given this increased number, I have refined my categorization this year to differentiate “and” and “or” requests.

The visualizations in the section below reflect job advertisements globally and provide a selection of comparative perspectives across regional and disciplinary specialization, with a focus on Northeast Asia and the humanities. As explained in the "About the Data" section above, new categories were added this year to allow for greater specificity regarding disciplinary interests. Language instruction (addressed in detail below) was the highest demand across all desired regions of China, Japan, and Korea.

Aside from language, the top three disciplines for China-related jobs were the combined Political Science/Anthropology/Sociology category (38 ads, or 11.8% of all China-specific positions), the generalist East Asian/Asian Studies category (37 ads, or 11.5%), and the Literature & Culture category (33 ads, or 10.2%). In the previous year, History dominated the China category with 35 ads (12.7%), whereas this year it fell to fourth place (30 ads, 9.3%). The Administration/Program Director category consisted of 25 ads (7.7%, an increase from last year’s 5.4%), roughly double the number of Japan and East Asia/Asia combined (10 ads and 12 ads respectively).

For Japan, aside from language, the three most prevalent disciplines were East Asian Studies (49 ads, or 17%), Literature & Culture (48 ads, or 16.7%), and History (22 ads, or 7.7%). Last year also saw the dominance of both the Literature & Culture and East Asian Studies categories (each with 19 ads, or 11.3%), followed by the PoliSci/Anthro/Socio category (14 ads, or 8.3%). This appears to reflect a striking rise in the humanities categories; if we were to remove those jobs located in Japan, where hires for literature in particular are quite high, the generalist East Asian Studies category would stand out far above the rest (with 37 jobs globally, versus a remaining 14 jobs in Lit & Culture and 9 in History). At the very least, this trend reflects an abundance of job opportunities for Japan specialists in Japan itself.

In Korean Studies, the total number of job postings increased by 13 ads from last year(from 56 ads to 69 ads). The top three disciplines for a Korea regional specialization this year were East Asian Studies (14 ads, or 20.3%), PoliSci/Anthro/Socio (5 ads, or 7.2%), and Any (that is, no preference; 4 ads, or 5.8%). This “Any” category is actually quite diverse, with three institutions offering postdocs in Korean Studies (Cornell University, Kyushu University, and Lewis & Clark College) and one institution (University of Maryland) offering a non-TT position.

By comparison, last year East Asian Studies, Literature & Culture, and PoliSci/Anthro/Socio were the top categories in Korean Studies, with EAS slightly increasing this year (+2 ads), PS/A/S decreasing (-4 ads), and a stark difference in Literature & Culture, which had 10 jobs last year and only 2 this year. All 10 Lit & Culture jobs last year were located in either South Korea (4) or the United States (6). The 2 jobs this year were located in the United States and the Netherlands. Of the EAS jobs, which tend to lean towards literature, art, and cultural studies, 8 of the 14 were in the US this year, while only 3 of the 12 were in the US last year.

It is also notable that last year jobs in Korean Studies included only 6 disciplines outside of language or administration, whereas this year there were 13 categories, just over double the previous amount. This included new fields such as museum studies, library and information science, religious studies, economics, and film/media studies.

Below are a handful of discipline-based observations on the History, East Asian/Asian Studies, Literature & Culture, and Language fields. These fields are often anecdotally discussed as markers of the "health" of area studies as a whole, and so it is worth highlighting some specific trends that appeared this job cycle. I periodically offer some additional information on hiring trends in the United States, as it is the leading employer in East Asian Studies.

The majority of advertised jobs in History this year, including tenure track and non-tenure track, were for generalists of East Asia/Asia. For tenure track jobs, those for the history of East Asia/Asia or China were the most numerous. By time period, Chinese history jobs were nearly equal in number across any/modern/premodern periods. There were no jobs in premodern Japanese history outside of Japan this year. There were no permanent positions in Korean history.

This year there were 101 job advertisements globally in the History field. Last year, there were 65 ads. The majority of advertisements for 2021-2022 sought a generalist in East Asia/Asia (covering the entire region), with 42 job ads that accounted for 41.6% of the total postings. This was followed by China, with 30 ads (29.7%), and Japan, with 22 ads (21.8%). In the previous cycle China led the history field with a majority 53.8% of job ads, compared with 24.6% for East Asia/Asia, while Japan lagged significantly behind with only 7.7% of job ads.

Of the East Asia/Asia regional specialization, 24 of the 42 ads were for tenure track positions, while 17 ads were for contingent positions (13 non-TTs, 4 postdocs). 16 of the 24 TTs and 11 of the 17 contingent positions were located in the United States. The US accounted for 28 of the 42 generalist East Asia/Asia hires in History, followed by the UK (4 ads), Canada (3 ads), Singapore (2 ads), Japan (2 ads), Australia (1 ad), Jamaica (1 ad), and Hong Kong (1 ad).

For China, 22 of the 30 ads were for TTs and 8 ads were for contingent positions (7 non-TTs, 1 postdoc). The US offered half of the China jobs, with 8 TTs and 3 non-TTs. Others were located in Hong Kong (5 ads), the UK (2 ads), Japan (2 ads), China (2 ads), and 1 ad each in Canada, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Norway, Taiwan, Singapore, and Qatar.

In the case of Japan, 14 of the 22 ads were for tenure track positions and 8 were for contingent positions (5 non-TTs, 3 postdocs). Of the TTs, 7 were located in Japan, possibly reflecting this year’s new data collection methods. Last year I noted that the 2019-2020 cycle had featured only 3 ads for jobs explicitly in Japanese history, with 2 TTs outside of the US, while 2020-2021 saw only 5 ads worldwide, with only 3 TTs (all located in Japan) and no jobs in Japanese history in North America. This year, there are 4 TTs and 2 non-TTs Japanese history positions in the United States (all modern, one non-TT with no preference). There were no premodern Japanese history jobs in North America this year.

There were no permanent jobs specifically in Korean history this year, though there was one postdoc at the University of Oxford and one non-TT position at Williams College with a preference for someone able to teach both Japanese and Korean history. In the 2020-2021 market cycle there were 4 advertisements in Korean history, with only one TT (located in South Korea).

Notably, three positions (2 TTs, 1 non-TT) were advertised for someone able to do both Asia and Africa, and 2 TT positions were advertised for Hong Kong history.

There was an increase in Japanese Studies jobs in cultural studies this year, though its strong lead may reflect data bias that would otherwise place Chinese Studies closer in number to Japanese Studies. Korean Studies hosted roughly 1/3rd the number of jobs compared to China and Japan, though there was a slight increase in the number of jobs in cultural studies. Most tenure track jobs in these fields were offered in Asia.

The above visualization combines (though visually distinguishes) both generalist East Asian/Asian Studies positions and Literature & Culture positions, as these categories frequently overlap in job advertisements that list a variety of fields such as literature, cultural studies, visual arts, media studies, etc.1 I have combined them in this visualization because popular culture/cultural studies positions are often contrasted with other more strictly delineated disciplines and often looked to as a measure of interest in the study of a specific region.

This year featured a total of 205 job ads in these combined categories, with Literature & Culture and East Asian Studies ads somewhat close in number (87 ads in Lit & Culture, 118 ads in EAS). Demand for a Japan specialization was the highest, with 97 ads (47.3%), followed by China with 70 ads (34.1.7%). Korea lagged significantly behind with 16 ads (7.8%) and East Asia generalist roles followed with 14 ads (6.8%).

Last year China was the dominant regional specialization, accounting for 37% of positions versus Japan’s 26%. Korea also had a higher representation with 15.1% of job ads (notably, 22 ads, as opposed to this year’s 16).

Would the dominance of Japanese cultural studies hold true if we eliminated jobs located in Japan? If we exclude jobs located in Japan, which tend to significantly boost the numbers of the Japan field in our dataset, there is a dramatic decline to only 51 ads for Japan and a steady 63 for China. Taking US-based jobs as a case study we also find Japan at 30 ads and China at 34 ads, fair comparable. The notable increase in Japan-related cultural positions observed in the global view this year should thus be interpreted with caution, as the gap between Japan and China positions may have narrowed, though it is unclear to what extent Japan unseated last year’s strong output of China positions.

Similar caution is warranted for examination of tenure track and contingent position comparisons, as jobs located in Japan accounted for 37 of the 66 TT ads in Japanese Lit & Culture/EAS. Japan and China were otherwise nearly equal in their TT offerings with tenure track positions in Korean Studies at roughly 1/3rd the number of Japan and China ads. The majority of TTs for all regional specializations were located in Asia (66 ads), followed by North America (39 ads). The majority of contingent positions were located in North America (45 ads), followed by Asia (23 ads).

Japanese continued to be the most in-demand language of CJK languages, accounting for nearly 50% of all advertisements. The United States employs the most language instructors in East Asian Studies, but 94.8% of those positions are contingent and therefore lack job security.

Continuing last year’s trend, Japanese language surpassed Chinese during the 2021-2022 season as the most in-demand language globally among Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The 76 job advertisements for Japanese language instruction accounted for 46% of the 165 total ads, while there were 56 ads for Chinese (33.9%) and 32 ads for Korean (19.4%). One advertisement wanted an instructor capable of teaching both Japanese and Korean. (Observing the differences without jobs located in Japan included, Japanese is still in the lead with 71 ads versus 55 ads respectively). Last year Japanese teaching positions led with 47.7% of all language jobs, versus 38.6% for Chinese and 12.1% for Korean. The roughly 7% increase in Korean language jobs is worth noting, though it still remains in the minority.

The United States continues to be the largest employer of CJK language teaching positions, hosting 129 of the 165 language jobs this year (78.2% of the total jobs). Of these positions, 122 ads were for contingent positions (120 non-TTs and 2 postdocs). I define contingent here, as with the rest of this report, as positions providing a year or more of full time work but no ostensible long-term job security (as a tenure track position might). Language teaching positions are often contracted for anywhere from 1-3 years, some with the possibility of renewal. Note that this dataset does not include adjunct positions/adjunct pools that hire by term or number of classes, which offer even less job security for lower levels of income.

Only 7 tenure track positions in language instruction were available in the US this year. Five were in Japanese (University of Alabama at Birmingham, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Rhode Island, University of North Georgia, Kennesaw State University), and two were in Chinese (Centre College, Truman State University). 94.8% of CJK language positions in the United States for the 2021-2022 cycle were contingent. This percentage is consistent with last year’s data for the US, which, although comprising only 58.3% of language positions at the time, included 73 contingent and 4 TT positions, remaining at a rate of 94.8% contingency.

The global contingency rate for CJK language positions this year was 84.8% (last year: 78.8%). In addition to the 7 TT language positions in the US, 5 ads for TTs each were located in the UK and Japan, 3 in South Korea, and 1 each in China, Hong Kong, Italy, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Modern positions or positions with no stated preference (or desiring the ability to do both modern and premodern) again dominated the academic job market season. Globally, modern jobs were 3x more in demand than premodern. This year there was again no discipline in which premodern jobs outnumbered modern ones. At a global level, China specialization was in the most demand for both modern and premodern positions, while ads with no stated preference for a time period most often requested an East Asia/Asia generalist.

30.9% (281 of 909) job ads worldwide were for specializations in the modern period. This is roughly comparable to last year’s cycle, in which 32.4% were modern. There was an increase in jobs with no specified period, from 25.6% last year to 28.6% (260 ads) this year. Premodern saw a decline from 13.6% to 10.1% (92 ads). Of the modern jobs advertised 49.1% were TTs vs. 45.4% contingent positions; of the any period jobs, 49.6% were TT and 43.1% were contingent; 54.3% of premodern jobs were TT and 41.3% were contingent. This slight improvement in premodern overall is likely because one third of all the premodern jobs were located in Japan, where the rate of tenure track positions was more than double that of countries like the US. If Japan were removed from the equation, the total number of premodern positions globally would drop from 92 ads to 58 ads (and TT jobs from 50 ads to 28 ads).

Turning to a selection of disciplines, for the East Asian Studies/Literature & Culture categories combined, the “any” label for either modern or premodern was advertised for 41% ads (84 of 205 jobs). Modern ads (71) comprised 34.6% and premodern ads (44) comprised 21.5% of the global total. Compared with last year’s global rates, this is a drop from the 50.7% for any, approximately equal to the 34.9% for modern, and an increase from 11.6% for premodern. In the United States, there were 39 ads for these cultural studies positions in the “any” category, outnumbering 26 ads for modern and 11 for premodern.

In History, of the 101 job ads worldwide (an increase from last year’s 65 ads), 40 were for any period (39.6%), 39 were for modern (38.6%), and 22 were for premodern (21.8%). Modern exceeded other areas last year with 41.5% of positions, with any having 24 ads (36.9%) and premodern having 14 ads (21.5%). In the United States this year the any category had 22 ads, the modern category had 21 ads, and the premodern category had 5 ads, marking nearly twice the number of positions as last year (modern: 10 ads; any: 8 ads; premodern: 2 ads).

For the Political Science/Anthropology/Sociology category, where premodern is less likely to be in demand, 93 of the 103 job ads listed globally were for modern and 10 ads listed no temporal specification. Of last year's 95 job ads, 87 were for modern and 7 listed no specification. In the United states this year there were 41 ads for modern and 4 ads for any period.

Similarly, the Religious Studies field specifies time period less often than many other fields. Of the 43 ads this year, 39 were for any/no preference in time period and 4 were for modern. In the US, 21 were for any and 2 were for modern. The number of jobs in the Religious Studies field overall grew from last year, which featured 25 jobs: 20 any, 1 modern, and 4 premodern.

Taking a closer look at the intersection of regional demand and time period, it can be helpful to exclude language-oriented and academic adjacent categories for which time period is not as relevant.2 At a global level, China specialization was the most in demand for both modern and premodern positions, while ads with no stated preference for a time period most often requested an East Asia/Asia generalist. In the previous year, China was in the greatest demand across all time periods.

For the 2021-2022 season, China comprised 34.7% of jobs seeking a modernist, 25.7% of jobs seeking any period of specialization, and 50% of jobs seeking a premodernist worldwide. Overall, there were 93 ads for modern China, 66 ads for any period, and 44 ads for premodern. In the US, China jobs accounted for 38.5% of all modern positions, 17.6% of all any period positions, and 71.4% of all premodern positions.

The East Asia/Asia category accounted for 28.4% of global jobs seeking a modernist (76), 36.2% of jobs seeking any period (93), and 8% of jobs seeking a premodernist (7). In the US, of 131 ads for any (or both) time period(s), 59 (45%) were for an East Asia/Asia specialist, making this combination of generalist positions the most in demand. For modern, by contrast, East Asia/Asia was second with 33 ads (30.3%) of the total positions, and among premodern positions there were only 5 generalist East Asia/Asia ads (23.8% of premodern ads).

For Japan, modern ads (71) comprised 26.5% of the global modern total, ads with no preferred period (70) constituted 27.2% of the any category, and premodern jumped to 36.4% (32) of global premodern ads. As stated in the previous sections, this number may be somewhat misleading, as 27 of the 32 premodern positions are located in Japan. If we look to the US, there were 22 modern Japan ads, 34 any ads, and only 1 premodern Japan ad (a non-TT position).

Much the same as last year, compared with the rest of East Asia, jobs in Korean Studies were few in number this cycle. Just 5.2% (14) job ads for modernists worldwide were for Korea. There were 15 ads for any period (5.8% of all any period jobs) and 3 jobs for premodern (3.4% of all premodern jobs). In the US, there were 8 ads for modern Korea (7.3% of all modern jobs), 10 ads for any period (7.6% of all any period), and zero ads for premodern Korea.

Over half of jobs advertised globally were at R1 institutions and offered 4.5x more job opportunities than SLAC, R2, and D/PU institutions. Nearly 60% of R1s are located in the United States and over 75% of R1 institution job advertisements in the US were for contingent positions this year. Both Asia and Europe, despite significant differences in the number and type of their institutions, offered closer to 50-60% secure (tenure track) jobs.

During the 2021-2022 job market season 52.9% of jobs advertised (481 ads) were located at R1 (very high research) institutions. This percentage is nearly equal to last year’s 52.6%. Small liberal arts colleges (SLACs), D/PU institutions, and R2 institutions were roughly equal to one another and had approximately 4.5x fewer job opportunities, with 103 ads, 101 ads, and 90 ads, respectively. 160 ads (33.3%) at R1 institutions were tenure track. SLACs had a rate of 38.8% tenure track jobs.

The majority of R1 institutions offering jobs were located in North America (279, or 58% of the global total; 264 in the US), with Asia and Europe close to one another at 99 and 97 ads (roughly 20%), respectively.

In North America, R1 institutions accounted for 57.9% of all jobs, though only 20.1% (56) jobs were tenure track. Of the contingent positions, 120 were non-TTs and 60 were postdocs. If we exclude the N/A category (which often contains administrative positions) and focus on only TTs/non-TTs/postdocs, then 76.3% of jobs offered at North American R1 institutions this year lacked long-term job security. This percentage was consistent with positions only in the US. SLACs offered 13.7% of all available jobs (66), with a slightly higher percentage of tenure track jobs (17 ads) at 25.8%, 43 non-TTs and 5 postdocs. Calculated without the N/A category, 73.8% of SLAC advertisements were for insecure positions. 10% of jobs were at R2 institutions, with 45.8% (22) of those being tenure track (alongside 20 non-TTs, 3 postdocs). Sans N/A listings, 51.1% of R2 job ads lacked job security.

In Asia, R1 institutions accounted for only 34.6% of jobs (99), followed more closely by D/PUs at 25.5% (73). SLACs accounted for 12.9% of job ads (37) and R2 institutions 9.4% (27). Excluding N/As, 57% of jobs at R1 institutions in Asia were tenure track positions (56). D/PU hires were 76% tenure track (54), SLACs were 61.2% tenure track (23), and R2 job ads were 74.1% tenure track (20).

For Europe, R1 institutions comprised 74% of all jobs (97), as compared to R2s' 10.1% (14) and D/PUs' 6.9% (9). Without N/A positions, only about half (51.7%, or 46) of the job ads at European R1 institutions were for contingent positions. At R2s 6 ads were TTs and 3 ads non-TTs. At D/PUs, 6 ads were also TTs and 2 were non-TTs. On the whole, European institutions have a nearly 50/50 TT ad vs. contingent ad ratio.

Although it is difficult to make direct comparisons across different types of institutions in different types of academic systems, the proportions of secure jobs to insecure jobs listed above suggest that North America (and, in particular, the United States) continues to have the worst record for contingent hires.

This year job advertisements at public institutions (527 ads, or 58%) again outnumbered private institutions (368 ads, or 40.5%) globally. The difference narrowed slightly from the 2020-2021 season, which featured 61.8% public and 35.6% private postings.

The majority of positions at public institutions could be found in the United States (197 ads), the United Kingdom (81 ads), Japan (67 ads), and Hong Kong (63 ads). However, job ads at public institutions significantly outnumbered private institutions in most countries other than the United States, where private institutions comprised 52.9% of postings (255 ads). Japan also had a large number of private institutions with job openings, with 73 ads (51.8%), versus 67 public (47.5%). In contrast, in places where public institutions far exceed private institutions, the ratio was very different. In the United Kingdom, for example, 81 of the 84 job advertisements were for public institutions, and in Hong Kong 63 of the 65 ads were for public institutions.

If we compare the percentage of tenure track and contingent positions at public and private institutions worldwide, we find that job ads for TTs comprised 43.5% of positions at public institutions while 44.2% were contingent. For private institutions, 37.5% of job ads were for TTs and 54.1% were for contingent positions. In the United States, only 26.7% of the positions advertised at private institutions were for TT jobs, versus 62.4% for contingent positions. At public institutions in the US, 28% of job ads were for TTs and 54.3% were contingent.

A Glimpse into Digital Labor

This year I am fortunate to be financially supported for this labor by the Association for Asian Studies and National Endowment for the Humanities Striving for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Asian Studies Digital Humanities grant. The first two years of my work on this data were unpaid labors of love, and this work will likely continue after my grant period has concluded. The majority of digital labor that goes into research projects and public facing scholarship is invisible, with the many hours spent crunching numbers, coding, or designing user interfaces or graphics unknown to the casual observer. For this reason I like to include brief descriptions of the labor that goes into this project. Being transparent about our labor is crucial to not only educating others on how these projects are undertaken but also to facilitating a more equitable academia by freely providing that information.

This year was especially time consuming and challenging, as I had to update last year’s dataset with additional job advertisements (a result of refining my data collection methods), code the new job data filter table for 2022-2023, and prepare my first comparative annual data report. These tasks require cycles of automated and manual data cleaning and careful examinations of work that has been carried out over the course of multiple years. Every weekend I search for new postings, record them in my annual data file, clean up the data, select keywords from the advertisement to feature in the filter table, and post a brief summary of the latest ads on Twitter. I also write a brief data report on my thoughts about trends in progress for patrons on my Patreon. In addition to the data work, I also regularly update other projects, such as my blog on resources in Japanese Studies and my database of digital resources and projects on East Asia.

I use the tool Timeular to track (and balance!) the hours I spend on my digital projects and other professional activities, particularly those for which I am (or am not) paid.3 To provide a rough estimate of how much time has been spent on my job data alone over the last year, I provide visualizations from my Timeular tracking below.

This year was the longest and most complicated job report to date, as reflected in the nearly 50 hours spent doing data work. During the months in which I was not preparing the job report, I spent an average of about 15.25 hours per month doing digital projects (including the Shinpai Deshou website and my East Asian Studies resources database, and the Digital Humanities Japan wiki). As you can see in the visualization above, most of those hours were spent on job data collection and curation. How this kind of data work is paid varies significantly from company to company, but a lower-range industry standard rate is close to $35-45 per hour. Thus, at the lower end of the spectrum, my last 12 months of work might be compensated at somewhere between $7,490 and $9,630 in hourly wages, professional compensation would, on average, be more. I am very grateful to now be receiving a year of funding to pursue this project, and more hours will be spent on this project this year as a result.

Before this support was available, I created a Patreon Patreon account to crowdsource financial support for this work. I have been transparent with patrons about my new source of funding for the year. Those that have decided to continue supporting this (and my other digital public-facing work that I still do for free) now provide about $198 a month (pre-taxes) for my work. If you found this or any other of my digital projects useful, monthly donations via Patreon Patreon begin at $2. Support from the community I do this for means a lot to me and helps keep this site running.

As I stated last year, I hope this report and the data therein will provide a starting point for discussions on old and new trends in the East Asian Studies field and may be of service to those who wish to advocate for the creation of such jobs at their own institutions. If you would like to discuss specific visualization requests for a subset of this dataset, you may contact me at prcurtis@ucla.edu.

Please link and provide credit when reposting. If you post any graphics provided or screencaps of the interactive visualizations, please cite this page and/or tag me on social media (@paularcurtis on Twitter).

A special thank you to Tristan R. Grunow and Sara L. Sumpter for assistance reviewing the content of this page.

To cite this page:

Curtis, Paula R. "East Asia-related Job Market Data Report (2021-2022)," prcurtis.com, July 31, 2022; http://prcurtis.com/projects/jobs2022/

  1. For more information on the distinctions between disciplinary categories that I make throughout this study, see the About the Data: Cleaning and Organization section at the top of the page.

  2. The disciplinary categories excluded in the calculations that follow are: Translation/Interpretation, Language, Linguistics, Administration/Program Director, and Business.

  3. For a thread on how I use Timeular to track paid and unpaid activities, see this Twitter thread.