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The Future of Mediation Careers

Some people think the mediation profession is doing just splendidly. Others think it has lost its way. Still others think the question is beside the point. Fine. People who enjoy vaguely meandering debates of this kind are welcome to spend as much time on them as they like. But suppose we wanted a more objective assessment. What objective data would give us a measure of the health of the profession? Here’s a suggestion.

We could pick a large, popular website dedicated to all things mediation – say – and measure the ratio between job announcements and training announcements. To put it crudely, we would measure the ratio between the number of opportunities to get paid to do it and the number of opportunities to pay to listen to people talk about it.

In a healthy profession the ratio will be high. There will be many job announcements for every training announcement. In an unhealthy profession the ratio will be low. There will be only a few jobs for every training. And if the ratio is reversed, if there are more advertisements for trainings than there are job announcements, it will be a sign that the profession is on artificial life support.

As I write this the number of trainings posted on the is more than three times the number of jobs. Similar ratios have applied for the past several months. And there you have it.


Barry Goldman

Barry Goldman is a Michigan-based arbitrator and mediator of workplace disputes. He is also an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School where he teaches courses in negotiation and ADR and the author of The Science of Settlement: Ideas for Negotiators, published by ALI-ABA in 2008. He can be reached… MORE >

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