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.
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.
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.
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.