I'm at home moving my classes online and doing my best with my wife to (a) stave off illness and (b) home-school our kids. So I says to myself I says, "let's make Friday night crazy by doing some analysis of the 2018-2019 job cycle!" Strap in, nerds. It's gonna get nutty up in here.
First, let's take a look at job postings for the last 5 years. Notice the obvious cycle:
You can see each year's peak, which quickly tapers off. Now this is for posting dates. Let's check out for when apps are due. You'd expect the same kind of cycle aaaaaaand.......
That's exactly what you get. Cool cool cool cool cool.
Let's zoom in on posting dates for 2018-2019. FYI: 14 posts didn't fill in the "deadline" field. I guess is was in the body of the post? Annoying...
That peak you see is 9 job-postings in one day on September 11. But we can also see that the peak job posting period is August 28 - November 1. Those are the first and last days where there at least four job postings in a day. This period accounts for nearly half of all jobs posted during this cycle (153/322). Keep in mind we're filtering for junior, postdoc, and open rank positions. We can also see two longish stretches of days without posting jobs: from December 22 to January 1 and May 31 to June 15 (roughly -- there's a day with two posts in that stretch).
Now let's take a look at when job apps are due.
Holy guacamole! That peak you see is November 1. Here are the top 5 due dates with the number of deadlines on each day (well, top 6, since there's a tie for 5th place).
November 1..... 31
November 15... 22
December 1...... 12
March 1............. 10
October 15........ 9
January 15........ 9
You get some downtime in the summer: mid-June to early July tends to be pretty chill.
Are there differences by job type?
Open rank and junior faculty have their intense period in November. Postdoc apps don't have the same peak. The takeaway? If it's the fall and you absolutely have to choose between prepping junior apps and postdoc apps, focus on the junior apps. You'll miss some postdoc deadlines, but you'd do better to focus your energy on the junior apps. But wait, we can do even better. Let's look specifically at TT jobs and postdocs.
So it looks like the lesson holds even filtering out junior, fixed-term jobs.
One more question: how much time to applicants get between the day the job is posted and the deadline?
Your eyes do not deceive you. There's one junior job for which applicants had 0 days. Two plausible hypotheses: a typo or the posting the job was just a formality. Junior faculty openings have a median of 41 days and most apps are due between 30 and 60 days of posting.
For postdoc positions, the shortest time between the posting and the deadline is 3 days, but most are between 34 and 65, with a median of 48. But postdoc postings have more dispersed outliers.
So there you have it. Some interesting findings about last year's job market. As always, feedback is welcome, especially if there's other analyses you'd like done.