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Research funded by public grants

Analysis of demand for Earth science graduates in Poland and other selected countries


The main objective of the project is to conduct a multifaceted analysis and assessment of the demand for graduates of Earth science programmes on the labour market. The research is also aimed at verifying the degree to which the demand is met among employers who actually declared shortages of staff from those areas. It is also important to investigate market size for this group of specialists as evaluated by people who met employer requirements and found jobs that corresponded to their professional qualifications.

The choice of this population is due to an issue that has been verified by nationwide studies, that graduates of programmes such as geography have difficulties finding employment in their field of study. Over 50% of working geographers perform jobs that are clearly not related to their degree and often do not require higher education. The lack of studies among geophysicists, geologists and oceanographers who are in the same discipline of science as geographers prevents any comparisons to be drawn between the situation of those specialists on the labour market (Piróg, 2015).
In order to map out the demand for particular specialists in a credible manner that would justify drawing general conclusions, it is necessary to conduct the analysis over a longer period of time and at least on a national scale. Such studies should cover all employers who have a need for specific employees from this field. However, the research should take into account not declarative demand where employers talk about their view on what qualifications and skill they would find useful in their enterprise but rather actual demand that is manifested in published job openings (e.g.: Kim, Angnakoon, 2016; Karakatsanis, 2017).
Currently, a source of such data that is widely recognised by researchers around the world are job advertisements. Nowadays, when nearly 90% of job openings for university graduates are published online, such advertisements are considered the best source of data for academic analyses (e.g.: Carnevale et al., 2014; Mytna-Kurekova et al 2015).
An effective use of information from online job advertisements for academic purposes requires the researcher to develop appropriate methods and tools that can be used to search, collect and analyse such data (Di Meglio et al., 2007). Consequently, a significant objective of the project is also to formulate universal methodology that could be used to investigate demand for given specialists using electronically available information. In particular, the methodology would describe the procedure for search, reporting and updating of selected online job advertisement as well as outline database architecture design that can be later used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of information collected in the course of the study.
The literature review suggests that there has been few studies to date that would attempt to diagnose actual demand for specific employees on a supranational scale (e.g.: Mytna-Kurekova´ et al., 2015). However, the studies provided evidence that there are significant regional differences both in terms of qualitative demand as well as in terms of competences that are expected of the employees who apply for jobs that require a university degree. This is a premise for making the current project international (it will cover selected German- and English-speaking countries in Europe). Thanks to that, the study will be the basis for identifying differences in scale and structure of staffing demand with regard to geophysicists, geographers, geologists and oceanographers.
The research objective will be realised by looking for answers to the following research questions:

  • What is the state of research on employers' staffing needs performed with the use of online job advertisement?
  • What methods of analysing secondary data, i.e. online job advertisements, are the most effective in diagnosing labour market demand both in terms of quantitative and qualitative research?
  • What is the actual demand for employees with degrees in Earth science in Poland and selected European countries?
  • Which factors affect the labour market demand for geophysicists, geographers, geologists and oceanographers?
  • To what extent are staffing needs for experts in Earth science met and, consequently, which specialists are in demand and which are in high supply?
  • How do geophysicists, geographers, geologists and oceanographers, who were hired for positions corresponding to their education, evaluate the labour market demand for professionals in their field?
  • What actions should be taken by universities, students/graduates and employers in order to match the supply of specialists in Earth science with the labour market demand?
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