I'm seeing more signs. I don't know if it's because I'm more alert to look for signs, or if there really are more signs. But I'm definitely seeing more signs of transparency about career outcomes beyond graduate school.
Here's a big sign: The American Historical Association has created a truly remarkable database of employment outcomes for over 8500 graduates of US PhD programs between the years 2004 and 2013.
The results will surprise you only if you're tied down by the false narrative that universities produce too many liberal arts PhD's. These data show close to half of history PhD grads are in tenure-track positions at 4-year schools. Another 25% are working in higher education. Less than 2% are unemployed.
The take home message is most (75%) history Ph.D. grads end up with academic jobs. That's good to know because that's what most history Ph.D. applicants want at the outset.
If you're a generalist, or not a historian at least, this is really interesting data about career placement after graduate school.
This is a must-use data resource to explore if you're considering applying to history Ph.D. programs. In particular, you can sort through individual producer universities to see the percentages of graduates working in specific sectors. You'll find, for example, that some programs do much better than others at placing graduates in coveted tenure-track positions at 4-year schools.
But what I like most about these data is that it serves as one of those signs of a shift towards a more student-centric posture on the part of graduate schools. They seem to finally be getting the message that career outcomes are incredibly important to their applicants and students.
In this case, the data producer is a professional society of historians. But many of those members are academics at graduate schools. And it's also a very big sign. A giant neon billboard painted in the sky-sized sign. It would be fantastic to see this work followed upon by other academic disciplines.