Sokanu rates Archivists with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 2,600 Archivists. That number is based on 500 additional Archivists, and the retirement of 2,200 existing Archivists.
Demand for Archivists
The prospective job market for archivists is expected to remain competitive, as qualified applicants generally outnumber openings. As in all sectors, retiring workers will create some vacancies, but turnover in this small occupation is low. Applicants may also face reduced demand due to periodic budget and funding cuts to Archives. Still, in the long term, job prospects for archivists should increase as public and private institutions require organization of and access to growing volumes of records and information.
The easiest entry to the archivist field may be as an intern or volunteer research associate, since permanent status is generally achieved with work experience in collection management, research, exhibit design, restoration, or database management. Only archivists with a background in some or all of these areas and a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in such disciplines as archival studies, library science, or history can apply for professional certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.
Other sought after qualifications in the field include foreign language skills, familiarity with both electronic and traditional records management, and the ability to relocate. Archivists for the National Archives and Records Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Smithsonian Institution, Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, and The Cocoa-Cola Company are among the most prestigious positions in the field. However, demand for archivists is created by many organizations, foundations, museums, libraries, universities, communities, cities, states, and provinces with the need to assess, collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to their irreplaceable historical records and documents. Opportunities are also being added by some large corporations that need to manage and maintain volumes of records as required by law.
Supply of Archivists
The Archivist industry is concentrated in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.