Stimson strongly backed the trend of political science graduate students holding back -- and not going out on the market until they were making real progress on their dissertations. "Whatever job you could get will be less than the job you could get the next year," he said. At North Carolina, he said, his department has a specific rule and works with students on jobs only after they have written and had approved one analytic chapter of their dissertations.One chapter is not much of a threshold. I would prefer that my students wait until they are close to done, but most tend not to want to wait. The problem, of course, is one of timing. Since they will finish by the end of next summer, they want a job in hand by next fall. So, I lower expectations and consider this year as practice until convinced otherwise. I have four students actively seeking jobs this fall. Each is fantastic in his/her own way.
The article indicates that IR is a hard subfield for employment, linked to political philosophy. I am not sure that is quite true--historically, theory has been the hardest and IR has been the second easiest (or least hard), as comparative can be quite difficult, depending on whether one's area is faddish or not (Mideast is hot, Russia much less so).