Recently Identified Changes to the Demographics of the Current and Future Geoscience Workforce

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Carolyn E Wilson1, Christopher M Keane2 and Heather R Houlton2, (1)American Geological Institute, Alexandria, VA, United States, (2)American Geosciences Institute, Alexandria, VA, United States
The American Geosciences Institute’s (AGI) Geoscience Workforce Program collects and analyzes data pertaining to the changes in the supply, demand, and training of the geoscience workforce. Much of these trends are displayed in detail in AGI’s Status of the Geoscience Workforce reports. In May, AGI released the Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2014, which updates these trends since the 2011 edition of this report. These updates highlight areas of change in the education of future geoscientists from K-12 through graduate school, the transition of geoscience graduates into early-career geoscientists, the dynamics of the current geoscience workforce, and the future predictions of the changes in the availability of geoscience jobs.

Some examples of these changes include the increase in the number of states that will allow a high school course of earth sciences as a credit for graduation and the increasing importance of two-year college students as a talent pool for the geosciences, with over 25% of geoscience bachelor’s graduates attending a two-year college for at least a semester. The continued increase in field camp hinted that these programs are at or reaching capacity. The overall number of faculty and research staff at four-year institutions increased slightly, but the percentages of academics in tenure-track positions continued to slowly decrease since 2009. However, the percentage of female faculty rose in 2013 for all tenure-track positions. Major geoscience industries, such as petroleum and mining, have seen an influx of early-career geoscientists. Demographic trends in the various industries in the geoscience workforce forecasted a shortage of approximately 135,000 geoscientists in the next decade—a decrease from the previously predicted shortage of 150,000 geoscientists. These changes and other changes identified in the Status of the Geoscience Workforce will be addressed in this talk.