Renewing the geoscience workforce - critical issues and approaches for the post-2025 workforce

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A critical question facing the geosciences is ‘Who will be the geoscientists in the future to address the challenging societal questions that all nations face?'  For the last few decades, geosciences have faced a crisis in student interest in the geosciences.  There are many causes, including perceptions relative to the rigor of the geosciences, concern about long-term employment opportunities, and a general lack of interest in science and mathematics.  At the same time, there is a generational shift in the geoscience workforce.  In the developed world, the baby boomer generation is leaving the workforce in all sectors providing opportunities for replacement by a younger generation.  In the U.S. alone, the demand will outstrip supply by approximately 150,000 to 200,000 positions in the geoscience workforce within ten years.  Though domestic expectations are that the US could import the talent, the data shows otherwise. Demand for geoscientists in the developing world is increasing and will compete for the global supply of geoscientists.  Solutions to these problems require a comprehensive understanding of both the supply and demand of the geoscience workforce as well as an understanding of the dynamics of career choice.  Issues of substitution, innovation, and entrepreneurship are central to the future of the geosciences after 2025.

  • Christopher Keane*
  • P. Patrick Leahy*
  • 34th International Geological Congress