BAJR Federation Archaeology

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Hi all at BAJR Smile

i don't post very often but am a bit of a lurker, but i just liked to ask something.

I have just, last week, finished my final undergraduate exam for my BA Hons degree in Archaeology. Now begins the wait for results! I thought i would just ask for some guidance on where my probable future lies. I have read through the interesting 'Advice for new diggers' article and it is helpful, however even though i have been looking casually at employment prospects for about a year there seems to be a dearth of anything regarding jobs for new diggers! Most jobs i have seen require at least a couple of years commercial experience. Most of my coursemates are going on to do MA's, Msc's or Mres's, but it seems even that barely increases your employment hopes, and creates an even more sizeable debt burden, especially with the fees hike.
I know the world economy is basically knackered, so people of course will want experienced people to do the work. But it sounds like one day as the workforce gets older there could be like a labour crisis if nobody new comes into the field, both literally and figuratively. My university used to have its own field unit that is now no more, and indeed the whole department is under review. But will my future in archaeology really be just the odd bit of local volunteering here and there at a weekend or in the summer? Will things ever actually improve? Or will archaeology always seem massively oversubscribed and be a struggle for work, pay and jobs? I love archaeology, but when it seems you have no future in it the love seems unrequited!

Thanks for reading Smile any opinions would be great!
you are one amongst many - its always been so. the best way of progressing is to get experience and the best way to get experience in the current market is to volunteer with professionals. your future in archaeology will probably depend on the effort you have already put in and the chances you will have to take on being in the right place at the right time. if you sit back and wait for it to happen it wont and if you think this is inequitable you have already wasted your time

good luck
Yep. PP wrapped it up in a nutshell!

Create your own opportunities. Possibly consider a different career!
getting the experience is crucial be flexible, work part time or evenings at something else volunteer during the day or at weekends. Where there is a will there is a way but you may have to compromise in the current climate any experience is better than nothing. Find out where the skills shortages are and learn the skills that are in demand. You are not going to be making money what
ever happens. You can volunteer and sign on as long as those you are volunteering with write a letter for the signing on centre saying that you can take up work as soon as it is offered and that you are not volunteering for work that would be done by an employed member of staff. It is not going to be easy but it is not impossible
P. Prentice, Jack and Wax I presume the type of volunteering you are talking about is research/community sector? HammerOfThor said that most companies were looking years of 'commercial experience''.

I sincerely hope, although nothing would surprise me, that commercial companies are not taking on volunteers as A. this is displacing paid work and B. if you can lift the barrow/empty the bucket you can and should be paid for it.

Which leaves HammerOfThor, and even myself (graduated for 2 years, 3 years professional experience) in the same place. Need 'commercial/professional' experience to get the jobs but can't get the jobs to get the experience.

The terrible thing is, that without new recruits learning the ropes for a prolonged period of time archaeology and many other professions/crafts face a challenging future. Retirement will mean that corporate knowledge will be lost but no one will be coming up behind to fill the skill/knowledge gap. Meanwhile a generation rotted on the dole, emigrated or became accountants if they could.
I suspect what most companies want are people who can prove they have good work "ethic" After all it really does not take much skil to fill and empty a wheel barrow. What they want are people who turn up on time and put in a good days work.
I think that should be the case. But unfortunately it is a hirer's market and they are being pretty cut-throat. No one wants to waste time training, or even run the risk that you might need some support, when they can get more experienced workers.

Another option for HammerOfThor would be to build up what digging experience you can via the voluntary route and see if anything takes your fancy that you could diversify into - CAD, photography, survey...although even these areas are pretty heavily over subscribed at the moment also.
Yes it is an over subscribed market. However many community excavations hire in professionals to manage and deliver the project so if you volunteer you will be showing the unit running the dig what you can do and when they are taking on staff they may well take on someone they have worked with on a community excavation. They will much rather go with someone who they know and who works hard even if they are a little inexperienced. In this game it's all about networking
Yep, never a truer word has been spoken. I wonder if this is the reason why the pub is such an important part of the archaeological experience. Alcohol (or lucozade in a pint glass) the great social lubricant.
Wax Wrote:Yes it is an over subscribed market. .............

At the moment. I can see it flipping back to a diggers market in the not too distant future.

If you can't get commercial experience, get any experience that's on offer. Work hard, be eager to learn, these things get noticed and improve your chances as word gets round (its a small world).

Companies at the moment are looking to cut costs, I fear some are misusing the drive from IfA/EH to involve communities in archaeology to take on volunteers in place of diggers........but this is nothing new.
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