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Job Market Remains Strong for Geoscience Graduates

Students who completed doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences in 2001 entered a relatively strong job market, with most finding employment quickly with higher salaries, while remaining within their respective fields, according to a new report from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Geological Institute (AGI), and American Institute of Physics (AIP).From the American Geophysical Union :Job Market Remains Strong for Geoscience Graduates

WASHINGTON – Students who completed doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences in 2001 entered a relatively strong job market, with most finding employment quickly with higher salaries, while remaining within their respective fields, according to a new report from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Geological Institute (AGI), and American Institute of Physics (AIP).

The report draws upon six years (1996-2001) of data collected by AGU and AGI through direct contact with recent graduates. The reported data includes survey responses from Ph.D. recipients who remained in the U.S. and also incorporates information from the National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates.

While the period of time required for recent Ph.D.?s to find jobs after graduation in 2001 rose slightly to 3.6 months from the 3.4 months needed in 2000, it remains lower than in 1999 and 1998, when graduates took an average of 4.7 and 5.5 months to find jobs. Seventy-eight percent of 2001 respondents found jobs in the Earth
and space sciences, and only two percent did not obtain jobs in any type of science or engineering.

The results suggest that improvements in job market indicators mirror improvements in job market perceptions: 30 percent of graduates in 2001 thought it was good or excellent, while about 20 percent rated the job market as hopeless or bad. In 1996, when recent Ph.D.?s averaged six months to find jobs, two-thirds of respondents rated the job market as hopeless or bad, and only four percent thought it was good or excellent.

According to the report, nearly half of the class of 2001 took temporary postdoctoral positions, a slightly greater percentage than in previous years. The number of academic postdocs rose 10 percent over 2000. Forty-six percent of recent graduates entered permanent full-time employment in academe, industry, or government.

The report shows that geoscience graduates were more likely than Ph.D.?s in other sciences to be employed for at least one year before formally completing their degrees, with nearly half working in government. Those students employed prior to graduation also earn salaries that are on average 37 percent higher than students who waited until after graduation to enter jobs.

The report also indicates that Ph.D. students in the Earth and space sciences are the oldest among all of the natural sciences and engineering disciplines, a trend most likely due to the fact that 38 percent of them began their graduate study more than five years after receiving their undergraduate degree.

While women are still underrepresented in Earth and space sciences, the percentage of women completing doctorates in these fields, over 30 percent in 2001, is higher than in other physical sciences. Only the life sciences and chemistry produce more female doctoral graduates.

The report, ?Earth & Space Science PhDs, Class of 2001,? was written by Nicholas Claudy (AGI), Megan Henly (AIP), and Chet Migdalski (AGU). It may be read in full on the AGU web site at http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/cpst/2001PhDSurvey.pdf. A print version may be obtained on request to Chet Migdalski at [email protected].




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