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Diversity
#41
Wax Wrote:I quite agree but I do think that part of the lack of diversity is a result of the insecurity of the profession.

We live in a generation (maybe two generations now) where job security and a well pensioned old age are something talked about but rarely seen - in all kinds of professions not just archaeology. Why therefore would that be a deterrent to minorities entering the profession?

My view is that it is purely a class thing....just so happens that most minorities, for a number of reasons, are in the lowest class grouping and that is the group that has the least access to archaeology as a subject and as a profession....Barking's point about university courses being occupied by folk who have no intention of taking up archaeology post-university is a case in point. These are people who have access to university through their class advantages, but deign not to follow the subject. At the same time they hinder access to the courses by a more diverse group of students....I mean we can't complain, that's just what the middle classes do....Marx recognised this back in 1848 when he described the English middle classes (bourgeoisie) as fundamentally driven by self interest....if we want to increase diversity in a limited industry, someone else has to give something up. That's the simple truth!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#42
This does of course rather rely on the premise that archaeology can only be accessed via a degree. Which is neither true nor necessary.
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#43
May be it is a class thing and there are many who argue that currently social mobility may be at its lowest since the begining of the twentieth century which is very scary. My argument is that if you have got the get up and go to break through whatever social barriers are in your way you will be aiming a bit higher than our dead end profession. No offence meant.

Yes we should encourage all to take part in and appreciate archaeology but as many people have pointed out we are a profession with serious problems. That average age of 42 says it all !!!! How on earth can we be taken seriously if there are no youngsters being trained up and groomed as the next generation of managers?

If there is no place for the young then diversity is a rather large red herring!!!!!!!
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#44
It isn't that there is no place for youngsters, its just that they form a relatively small percentage of the archaeological workforce. Its a conundrum in many professions these days. There are part-qualified lawyers being called to the bar, but with no placements to work in. I think that must really piss off part-qualified lawyers as everyone assumes that is a high earning job for life. Similarly all of those archaeologists or fringe archaeologists who took 'forensic' qualifications and still end up asking if you would like to super-size that burger!!

I guess its the case of, if there were better paid, more secure and more interesting jobs out there maybe some of the older archaeological folk might think about moving on and potentially freeing up positions for youngsters. But the reality is that over 45 these days and getting a foothold in a new career outside archaeology is virtually impossible - so older archaeologists hang on in there. And why not!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#45
Mike.T. Wrote:What's the point of studying for a subject that you've no intention of pursuing as a career ?

As for it being a ''handy degree'' to work in the legal profession I can't think of any Archaeologist who has made that transition. If you know of any legal practice that is looking for an Archaeologist then please let me know. I could do with multiplying my wages by at least five fold, not to mention working in a nice warm office.
i can think of many examples acually - i bet some of them still drop by this forum occasionally. you may well be surprised how many people you meet in life that have an archaeology degree and how many of them will say that they wished they had perservered.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#46
Tool Wrote:This debate has been raging a while though, hasn't it: what role can those in the commercial sector take, if indeed they should take at all, to help convey that story and bring it alive to a wider audience. I still think this is the crux of so many problems that get mentioned in relation to the business of archaeology. Too much is kept in house, a secret for the select few. And then we wonder why politicians want to discount archaeology from the planning process, why the public don't notice when their heritage is being lost for good and why huge swathes of the population don't even know we exist. But is there an appetite to address this within the balance-sheet world of commercial archaeology?
you might want to take a look at the ifa southport initiative. there is now widescale acceptance in the commercial sector that we must sort our house out. there does though remain a problem in that for the most part we will quote for the bare minimum if we want to win a tender. curators still do not require the kind of public involvement and outcomes that southport would realise.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#47
kevin wooldridge Wrote:....just so happens that most minorities, for a number of reasons, are in the lowest class grouping and that is the group that has the least access to archaeology as a subject and as a profession....Barking's point about university courses being occupied by folk who have no intention of taking up archaeology post-university is a case in point. These are people who have access to university through their class advantages, but deign not to follow the subject. At the same time they hinder access to the courses by a more diverse group of students....I mean we can't complain, that's just what the middle classes do....
i think there are plenty of us without middle class backgrounds even if we ourselves have become middle class. i would also point out that many of us still encourage participation from pre-undergraduates and that providing opportunities for such can give some potential archaeologists a head start gaining a uni place - often when grades are found wanting. universities want people who have made an effort and who will contribute to their course. the people with the most to offer, the new ideas are are still around its just that some people (whatever age) just need a little assistance and we can all do that if we have a mind to.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#48
barkingdigger Wrote:Not sure if it's changed, but back in my Uni days (early mammals had just arisen from the ashes of the killer asteroid...) there were quite a few archaeology students who never had any intentions of pursuing it as a career. Some were using it as "a handy degree" to get office work (the legal profession particularly liked the the mix of research and puzzle-solving skills), while others were killing time before finding a mate or inheriting the family business/fortune. Of the folks I knew, I'd say less than half treated it as the start of a career. That's a large chunk taken out of the graduating class before we even get to those who either can't get started, or give up after a short stint.

With such a high attrition rate before they even start, it's no wonder we're seeing an aging population in the sector!

Before I got wiped out by the same killer asteroid, I did a degree where pretty much the same 4 people who'd dug before uni were the same 4 who did it after (we did hoover up a couple of extras though over the 3 years) - pretty poor from a course of 40....

Don't know anyone who went into the law, plenty went off banking and the like though
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#49
Just a couple of quick comments on some of the profession numbers.

Age, archaeologists are older. There are a couple of things to take into account. One, the UK average age, as in everyone, is 40ish. So archaeology is pretty close to the average age and it is not surprising we would be around that age. Two, archaeology is a relatively young profession. Early 1990s is basically when it started. Now before anyone jumps on me yes- lots of people from the Man Power days did and still do archaeology. However, looking at the numbers in really jumped about 20 years ago. Lots of people got in on the ground floor and they have been aging. It is not surprising to see the rapid ageing of the profession as we grow older and come more inline with the UK average. We are just becoming more like everyone else.

Three, we lost 30% of the workforce which pretty much mean that we lost people with little experience ( some with lots) but the youngest got hit the hardest.

20 years is really not enough time to get rid of all the generational wrinkles. Also, some generations are larger than others, babyboomers are more numerous than generation X. Millennials are the first generation to be the same size as baby boomers. So we are never going to have perfect distribution of ages across the workforce.

In my personal opinion a health mix of all ages are great. 30 years of experience is always a nice compliment to exuberance of youth.

The simple truth is that there are not many jobs available for new archaeologists. Also, because we are a relative young profession in the UK, retirement has not really caught up with many of us. In fact a much older workfoce would be great as we would have a more steady turnover. But we really have to wait for the glut of people who came in the 20 years to move out. We are looking at a few more generations before archaeology gets a more normal aging distribution. Even then the math is against us.

4500 archaeologists if it was distributed over 30 year careers is 150 archaeologists in each year. That means that at best we would see about 150 new positions open up a year as the oldest cohort retires. Of course it does not work that way as most diggers leave after five years. People leave for other reasons, health, family, etc.

However, it really does not matter that much- maybe 200? 300? 400? 500? (as in 1/9th of all the profession) leave a year. We have 1000+ probably closer to 1200-1300 new masters students a year in archaeology. I am not talking about those oxbridge/Scottish universities lets call a BA an MA. I am talking actual taught masters in Archaeology.

As people have rightly pointed out that not everyone is going into an archaeology degree for a job as an undergrad. Probably not everyone going for a MA will want a career either but it will be significantly more. We also put out 150-200 PhDs a year. That is enough PhDs to replace all of that natural turnover I was talking about if everything was perfect. Again, not every PhD is going to find a job in archaeology but I would be willing to bet 95% are going to try.

I hate to say it but to be a professional archaeologists you need a degree- http://dougsarchaeology.wordpress.com/20...-and-less/

Ok not 100% true but read the link first before arguing that point.

Needing a degree has some serious implications for bringing in people to the profession.
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#50
thanks doug - a useful analysis
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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