Due Diligence for Students - Geoscience Skills and Demographic Data for Career Planning

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A major focus of the American Geological Institute's Human Resources program has been providing demographic and employment data so that students and mentors can better understand the dynamics of a career in the geosciences. AGI has a long history of collecting these data for the geoscience community, including 46 years of geoscience enrollments, periodic comprehensive surveys of employment in the discipline, and working closely with other organizations that collect these data. AGI has launched a new suite of surveys to examine the skills desired by employers and the skills provided through a geoscience education. Historical demographic and enrollment data allow a number of the major trends to be examined. These trends include the dominance of industry as employer in the geosciences and how the cyclicity of geoscience employment has become more complex with the development of the environmental sector over the last 30 years. Additionally, demographics are changing rapidly, with a geoscience workforce that is changing rapidly in age, gender, and background. The discipline may also be facing a change in the nature of geoscience employment, with chronic shortages of skilled geoscientists, but will job opportunities actually increase. This may not be as paradoxical as it appears. The geoindustries are attempting to adjust their strategies to dampen business cycles, which then may lead to more stable employment levels for geoscientists, but they are also broadening their vision of who can become competent geoscientists.

  • Christopher Keane*
  • American Geophysical Union 2001 Joint Assembly