Paper No. 217-4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM
THE OCCURRENCE OF PHYSICAL ABILITIES IN ENTRY-LEVEL GEOSCIENCE JOB ADVERTISEMENTS AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT ON STUDENTS
Efforts to promote diversity in the geosciences are widespread. Despite these efforts, people with physical disabilities remain significantly underrepresented. Many geoscience workforce positions include a field component that may present a real or perceived barrier for people with physical disabilities. In this study, we analyzed 1546 bachelors-level geoscience job advertisements from 569 different employers to determine how inclusive the current job market is to people with physical disabilities or limitations. We coded each advertisement for instances where physical abilities (i.e., traversing rough terrain, driving a vehicle, frequently lifting heavy objects) were listed as required or preferred qualifications. Additionally, we recorded if employers indicated they could make accommodations for qualified candidates. We coded for 33 additional workforce skills (i.e., field skills, data collection) to identify any relationships between those skills and physical abilities. Preliminary results show nearly half of all advertisements required the applicant to possess some form of physical ability, with few stating that accommodations could be made. Most environmental scientist and geologist positions required physical abilities. Our results provide insight into the expectations of potential employers. Students exploring their career options or applying for entry-level jobs may feel disadvantaged, restrict their applications, or dismiss geoscience careers if they have physical limitations. We hope our results will prompt employers to consider possible accommodations, make them prominent in job advertisements, and to explore alternative strategies to promote a more inclusive geoscience workforce.