Building a Picture of U.S. Geosciences Human Resources

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At the end of 2007, AGI began the geosciences workforce data snapshots “Geoscience Currents.”  This publication series provides the community and the public focused views of a specific aspect of the geosciences profession – from human dynamics to economic variables.  These snapshots are done in response to rapidly rising questions which AGI has become aware or of new analyses available by AGI’s effort to develop a comprehensive analytical compendium of the geoscience profession.  The first edition of this compendium will be available in early 2009.

Some clear emerging trends have been noted during the current study, some of which run counter to “popular opinion,” such as federal investment in geosciences, employment demographics, and the dynamics of geosciences programs. An overview of the major trends and issues will be presented, including the clear disconnects between the activities on the supply side (universities) and the demand side (employers) within the United States.

For example, though many geosciences departments have closed in the last 10 years, more have actually entered our field – a few brand new geology programs, but also the evolution of outside programs like biology and geography entering our field, employing faculty, and producing students that enter the profession.   Likewise, many traditional bastions of both education and employment in the geosciences are seeing increased multidisciplinary involvement and “fade” from the center of the profession.

  • Christopher Keane*
  • Association of Earth Science Editors Meeting 2008