Decision Points in the Geoscience Career Pathway

Key factors affecting the retention and uptake of geoscientists

The geoscience profession is currently facing a substantial workforce gap as approximately half of the current workforce retires over the next 15 years. The current cohort of early-career geoscientists is not large enough to replace the retiring cohort, and the small influx of geoscience graduates into the profession will not be large enough meet the future workforce demand. This issue has been documented and discussed extensively in the U.S. (Gonzales et al., 2010; AGI, 2009), and it is also a prevalent global geoscience issue. Given the attrition rate (e.g. enrolment:degree ratio) in geoscience university programs, and the small percentage of geoscience graduates who enter the core profession, there is a pressing need to encourage the uptake and retention of early-career geoscientists.

This project aims to determine the key inflection and decision points in the career pathways for early-career geoscientists, from university through to 10 years postgraduation. This study will not only identify the factors contributing to individual decisions, but also will monitor their career choices over a ten year period. The results will provide direct insight, both positive and negative, into the causal factors for decisions pertaining to enrolment and retention in geoscience university programs, as well as decisions about career pathway choices.

How you can get involved and make a difference:

Please take a few minutes and complete the survey form. All contact information will be held confidential and will not be disclosed in survey results. We collect your name and email address for two reasons:

  1. In case you submit duplicate surveys, we will only use the most current survey data.
  2. In case you would like to participate in the longer-term survey, we will use your name and email address to follow-up with you.

All survey participants for each year will be entered in a drawing to win a select number of prizes. Winners will be chosen at random each December.

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions about the survey or this YES Network-affiliated study, please contact either Joanne Venus ( or Leila Gonzales (

Supporters of this project:

We thank the following organizations:

The YES Network for promoting this project and for making this a YES Network-affiliated survey;

The American Geological Institute for providing us with the web-hosting for this project;

The Geological Society for donating the book "The Geology of England and Wales" for the survey prizes.

The Geological Society of America for donating the GSA memberships for the survey prizes.

If your organization would like to support this survey effort, please contact either Joanne Venus ( or Leila Gonzales (

Take the survey!