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Geoscience industry losing one third of first degree graduates

ONLY A FIFTH of first degree geoscience graduates are employed in geological and geologically related jobs, suggesting that the skills shortage in the industry is set to deepen.

More than a third of first degree geoscience graduates go on to work outside the industry, according to a survey by the Geological Society published in the November issue of its magazine Geoscience.

Most graduates end up with careers in retail/wholesale or in legal and financial firms.

At 6.5%, the proportion of first degree holders still seeking their first opportunity after graduation was lower than in previous years, but there was increasing concern about 'under-utilisation' with many degree-holders entering'sub-graduate' jobs.

Those with higher degrees fared better. Nearly a third of first degree holders undertake further study and 75% of those with non-doctoral degrees are employed after six months,60% of them in geologically related jobs.A similar number (73%) of students completing PhDs were employed after six months, and again nearly 60% have geological jobs.

UK output of first and postgraduate degree holders increased by 2.3% to 372,289 in all disciplines (ie not just geoscience subjects) and the general job market was improving.

However, a fifth of members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (representing more than 500 of the UK's largest recruiting firms) reported shortfalls in scientific, technical, engineering and research and development sectors. The impact was likely to be 'particularly severe, as these graduates were needed to support the critical functions in many industrial organisations, 'it said.

The latest figures cover first degree graduates and graduates of higher degrees (both doctoral and nondoctoral) of full-time courses with 50% or more geoscience content between 1997 and 1998.

Details of employment, study or training positions which had been determined by 31 December 1998 and were due to take effect by 31 March 1999 were collected.

Figures were drawn from the Higher Education Statistics Agency and its First destination supplement.

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