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InquilineKea

Job opportunities at all career stages for geoscientists is on the rise

6 posts in this topic

Thanks for the link!

I think the author is a little too optimistic about the prospects for geoscience graduates. As I understand it, the demand for solid-Earth scientists is highly dependent on how well Big Oil is doing. Oil prices are volatile, and there's really no way to predict what the demand will be in the future (maybe we may actually bite the bullet and invest in renewables in the next few decades!). A good oil economy opens up positions for geologists/geophysicists in industry, relieving some of the competition for academic positions (which are few and far between in the Earth sciences).

It's probably safe to say there will be a need for more people with an Earth science background in the workforce in the near future, but I doubt that we'll see a lot more jobs opening up for geoscientists with doctorates. Most jobs at environmental consulting firms, analytical labs, drilling operations, etc. require no more than a masters degree, as they're doing (IMO) routine and technical work. I can't imagine that industry would need more researchers than are employed now, and I imagine that most of the Ph.D.s employed in industry are solid-Earth people working for oil companies. I don't see a lot of room for geochemists in industry positions, and "geobiologist" & "industry" seem to be incompatible.

The article doesn't mention environmental law--I imagine that lawsuits over contamination, etc. are only going to increase, and I think we'll soon see a rise in opportunities for lawyers with environmental science backgrounds.

On the positive side, the geosciences aren't (yet) quite like chemistry or (god forbid) biology, where spending >5 years as a postdoc is becoming the norm! :blink:

Anyways, good find!

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I imagine that most of the Ph.D.s employed in industry are solid-Earth people working for oil companies. I don't see a lot of room for geochemists in industry positions, and "geobiologist" & "industry" seem to be incompatible.

The article doesn't mention environmental law--I imagine that lawsuits over contamination, etc. are only going to increase, and I think we'll soon see a rise in opportunities for lawyers with environmental science backgrounds.

Well, the geochem program I'm in tends to place people in environmental consulting firms. As far as I know, there have only been 3 graduates who have gone on to academia...

Yes, you're right, solid-Earth people are in the highest demand, but that doesn't mean there aren't jobs of other sorts out there. Personally, I think that mastering biogeochemistry will allow me to work in pretty much any field...

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More articles on geo careers ...

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es902234g

http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2008_08_08/caredit_a0800120

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5890/856.full

TL;DR: Academic / government research jobs are harder to come by than industry (petroleum, environmental consulting, mining). Industry jobs often just require an M.S.; on-the-job training provided.

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Oh wow - thanks for the answers everyone! :)

Soo - what exactly is the norm for postdoc length in the geosciences right now? And grad student length? If your work is computational rather than fieldwork-based, does this affect the average time it takes to graduate? The one thing the article pointed out was that there are more roles for the mathematics+computational parts of geoscience. That being said, I'm more familiar with atmospheric science than geology.

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Oh wow - thanks for the answers everyone! :)

Soo - what exactly is the norm for postdoc length in the geosciences right now? And grad student length? If your work is computational rather than fieldwork-based, does this affect the average time it takes to graduate? The one thing the article pointed out was that there are more roles for the mathematics+computational parts of geoscience. That being said, I'm more familiar with atmospheric science than geology.

Postdoc length: That depends on which field. I think my predecessor spent ~1 year in his postdoc before landing a TT job (though, to be fair, he's probably stayed at his postdoc institution through the end of the school year, 1.5 years). I think the USGS postdocs are 2-3 years long.

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