Demand and supply in UK archaeological employment, 1990‐2010
Aitchison, Kenneth Robert
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The core of this thesis comprises three previous published reports ‐ Profiling the Profession: a survey of archaeological jobs in the UK (Aitchison 1999), Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 200203 (Aitchison & Edwards 2003) and Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 200708 (Aitchison & Edwards 2008). These volumes are the only comprehensive reviews of the labour market within the archaeological sector in the UK, examining who works in all sectors of archaeology, what qualifications they hold, how they are rewarded and how they are trained. These three surveys have established a corpus of time-series datasets which demonstrate how archaeological practice and employment have evolved in the UK over the decade to 2008 and the onset of the global economic crisis in that year. The thesis contextualises these data‐rich reports with a historical and analytical account of how employment in archaeology grew from the late nineteenth century until 1990, and then examines the drivers of demand for services that lead to archaeological employment in the United Kingdom over the 20 years from 1990‐2010, and how this demand was met. Until 1990, archaeology was primarily a state‐provided or state‐sponsored activity. The sector's funding base transformed in the 1990s to become primarily reliant on private sector monies and the effects upon employment within the sector have been of the sectoral reaction to adopt an enterprise‐focussed model for delivery have been considerable. The number of people employed in archaeology grew very rapidly over this period (by approximately 4.5% per annum), with the expansion of applied, commercial archaeology representing the majority of this growth. These individuals are very highly academically qualified, but not very well rewarded financially. In order to fully explore the central issues, historical patterns and precedents are examined, focussing on particular strands of activity in detail, using case studies of organisations and particular archaeological projects.