COVID-19 Impacts to Geoscience Business Operations

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Half of geoscience employers are expecting lower financial performance for this year compared to 2019 as a result of the pandemic. In February, nearly 40% of businesses reported an outlook of increased financial performance over last year, but by June, these expectations had lowered substantially.

Data Brief 2020-011 chart-01: Expectations for financial performance: current calendar year relative to last year (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

Additionally, 32% of businesses reported securing outside supplemental support to mitigate financial risks. Meanwhile, 31% of businesses reported increased workloads relative to staffing, while an additional 50% reported that they have maintained balance between workload and staffing. This echoes comments from non-academic geoscientists about their experiences of having increased personal workloads since February.

Data Brief 2020-011 chart-02: Level of work relative to capacity (credit: AGI; data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

The most commonly reported COVID-19 impacts to business operations was regulatory restriction of access to facilities (65%), disruption in the supply chain and contractor availabil­ity (39%), and termination or amendment of revenue-gener­ating contracts (35%). In terms of impacts to staff, salary reductions were more common (19%) than staff furloughs (10%) or layoffs (3%).

Data Brief 2020-011 chart-03: COVID-19 impacts to business operations (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:­force/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.