Change in employment status among COVID-19 study participants

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In this data brief we examine how employment status has changed for non-retired survey participants over the course of the Geoscience COVID-19 Impacts study. Three-quarters of non-retired participants remained employed, 4% gained employment, and 1% lost and regained employment. Fourteen percent of non-retired participants remained in school, while 1% returned to school, 1% retired, 3% became unemployed, and 2% remained unemployed.

DB_2021-001 chart 01: Employment changes since start of study participation (Credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

By cohort, over 90% of academic faculty, K-12 faculty, non-aca­demic geoscientists and post-doctoral fellows have remained employed. Less than 5% of K-12 faculty and post-doctoral fellows reported losing and regaining employment over the course of the study. Post-doctoral fellows were more likely to switch types of employment statuses than other cohorts, as would be expected for those advancing in their careers. Students predominantly remained in school throughout the course of the study, yet 14% gained employment and 8% became unemployed.

For those geoscientists who were unemployed at the start of the study, 42% gained employment, 5% retired, 2% returned to school, and 51% remained unemployed as of March 2021. It is important to note, however, that the cohort of unemployed geoscientists who have remained unemployed through March 2021 represents 2% of the total study population. Unemploy­ment rates across cohorts was highest for students and post-doctoral fellows (8%), and lowest for non-academic geoscientists (3%) and academic faculty (1%).

We will continue to provide current snapshots on the impacts of COVID-19 on the geoscience enterprise throughout the year. For more information, and to participate in the study, please visit:

Funding for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation (Award #2029570). The results and interpretation of the survey are the views of the American Geosciences Institute and not those of the National Science Foundation.