The number of professional jobs in the oil and gas industry exceeds the number of qualified and available workers. In 1982, enrollment in the geosciences hit an all time high of 35,000 students but today the number has dwindled to about 5,000. Salaries are generous, however the industry does not have a rosy image with the public and that dampens the number of students who declare a geoscience major. Combine the lack of new graduates with a workforce that is mainly over 50 and starting to retire and the shortage of talent becomes critical.
This workforce shortage doesn’t just affect the oil and gas industry; it affects other areas in the geosciences, such as environmental geology.
Here is another statistic that I want to tie in: Of 102 colleges and universities that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, only three offer bachelor’s degrees in geology (Wheaton, Calvin, and Olivet Nazarene; all in the Midwest). In some ways this is understandable. Most of these 102 institutions are small, and each can offer only a small number of majors. Many of them do offer degrees in chemistry and biology, and an increasing number are offering degrees in environmental science.
In an age of climate change and resource shortages, an understanding of the Earth is critically important. As Christians enter the debates over global warming, they need to have those in their midst who are well-equipped to speak with wisdom both in terms of their scientific understanding of the complex issues, and their Christian world view. This goes for a number of other issues involving the geosciences as well, such as water resources, wildlife management, mineral and energy resources, and waste management.
Grace and Peace