Estimation of Relative Size of the Geoscience Workforce in Various Countries

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This Currents demonstrates some of the issues that arise when trying to quantify the global geoscience workforce. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is very transparent in their labor counts by industry and occupation, which allows for AGI to prepare a realistic estimation of the size of the geoscience workforce in the U.S.

Most other countries either do not provide the detail or transparency comparable to the U.S., leading to both data availability and definitional problems. Most countries provide data in a highly aggregated form by industry, and only three industries where geoscientists work were in common across most countries: agriculture, mining/oil and gas, and professional science and technology.

However, South Africa and Indonesia do not report on professional science and technology industries, so geoscience intensity was estimated based on U.S. percentages of geoscientists in each of these industries. It is important to note, that the U.S. estimation for these three industries is a less than half of the total geoscientists in the U.S. because it does not account for other major industries and occupations like federal, state, and local government or management.

China is colored differently because the definition used to identify geoscientist by the Chinese reporting agencies is extremely broad and extends well beyond the scope of what the rest of the world defines as geoscientists. Reliable sources in China estimate the number of geoscientists as defined in the rest of the world is about 10% of the reported number.

Geo Workforce By Country

Date updated: 2016-09-06
Data Brief 2016-006
Written and compiled by Carolyn E. Wilson for AGI, September 2016

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