COVID-19 and Employment of Recent Geoscience Graduates

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Between February and June 2020, the employment status of recent geoscience graduates varied greatly based on when graduates earned their degree and based on degree level. While 96% of graduates who earned their degree between 2014-2018 were employed, only 59% of graduates who earned their degree between 2019-2020 reported the same. Recent geoscience doctorates were employed as academic faculty, post-doctoral fellows or non-academic geoscientists, and the majority of master’s and bachelor’s graduates were employed as non-academic geoscientists.

Data Brief 2020-010 chart 01: Employment of recent geoscience graduates by graduation year (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

Data Brief 2020-010 chart 02: Employment of recent geoscience graduates by degree level (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

Recent geoscience graduates who were employed in non-ac­ademic geoscience occupations were predominantly employed as geoscientists, geoscience managers, geosci­ence technicians, or geoscience engineers. Other non-academic occupations reported by geoscientists included com­puter software and support, industrial engineering, educational and library operations, policy analyst positions, administrative support, and agriculture.

Data Brief 2020-010 chart 03: Non-academic occupations of recent geoscience graduates (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

Recent geoscience graduates who were unemployed were either bachelor’s graduates (74%) or master’s graduates (26%), and 81% of all unemployed recent graduates earned their degrees between 2019 and 2020. Unemployed recent graduates, however, are predominantly seeking employment in the geosciences (77%), and just over half are also seeking employment outside of the geosciences.

The most common reasons for seeking employment outside of the geosciences included a lack of job opportunities within the geosciences and not having adequate training or skills for available geoscience jobs. Other reasons mentioned included not having the educational pre-requisites for avail­able geoscience jobs, better opportunities in another field, and an inability to change location to take a geoscience job.

Data Brief 2020-010 chart 04: Job seeking activity of unemployed recent geoscience graduates (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

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: www.americangeosciences.org/work­force/covid19

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.

Date updated: 2020-07-03
Data Brief 2020-010
Written and compiled by Leila Gonzales and Christopher Keane, AGI, July 2020

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