This paper considers the stability of thin liquid layers of binary mixtures of a volatile (solvent) species and a nonvolatile (polymer) species. Evaporation leads to a depletion of the solvent near the liquid surface. If surface tension increases for lower solvent concentrations, sufficiently strong compositional gradients can lead to Bénard-Marangoni-type convection that is similar to the kind which is observed in films that are heated from below. The onset of the instability is investigated by a linear stability analysis. Due to evaporation, the base state is time dependent, thus leading to a nonautonomous linearized system which impedes the use of normal modes. However, the time scale for the solvent loss due to evaporation is typically long compared to the diffusive time scale, so a systematic multiple scales expansion can be sought for a finite-dimensional approximation of the linearized problem. This is determined to leading and to next order. The corrections indicate that the validity of the expansion does not depend on the magnitude of the individual eigenvalues of the linear operator, but it requires these eigenvalues to be well separated. The approximations are applied to analyze experiments by Bassou and Rharbi with polystyrene/toluene mixtures [Langmuir, 25 (2009), pp. 624-632]. © 2013 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.