The Ending Employer Market

March 26th, 2012

GeoSearch TalentIn August of 2009 this blog posted It’s an Employers Market, Ugh! that noted the unattractive attitude of some organizations growing their workforce.  That blog said “…hiring organizations that act with arrogance and blatant disrespect, just because they happen to be growing in this down marked, would benefit from some sole searching and a small dose of modesty.”  At the time, all headlines were gloom and doom.  An economic turn around wasn’t on the horizon and many greedy organizations took advantage of the circumstances to hook top talent while burning bridges with runner up’s.

Last week, Dr. John Sullivan posted The War for Talent Is Returning; Don’t Get Caught Unprepared where he said, “Like it or not, the war for talent is returning and it is already at ferocious levels in the Silicon Valley and in other high-growth areas around the world.” and reminded readers that “If you’re not familiar with the “war for talent” phenomena, it involves a prolonged period of intense competition where top applicants are both scarce and arrogant, employees leave by the droves, firms regularly raid each other for talent, and bidding for top talent is commonplace.”  That blog post is an excellent read and report on the market changes happening now.

The geospatial employment market is starting to resemble the Silicon Valley reality.  For three or four years it has been a strong employer market where talent has had to fight hard to win a new position.  Employers would list five job requirements and only consider candidates with seven of those five qualifications.  The full recruitment life cycle has been extended not by days but by months.  However, the tables may soon be turned.

While a large labor pool exists due to the Department of Labor’s 8.3% unemployment statistics, finding qualified and interested candidates for today’s open geospatial positions is dwindling.  The number of resumes from candidates that meet specific criteria seem to be dramatically down and the time spent sifting through stacks of unqualified resumes is on the rise.  This can be good news for active geospatial job seekers with relevant skills.  This will most certainly spell trouble for employers unprepared for the changing trends.

What are you going to do to address these changes?  Hiring bonus’s will return to lure qualified talent and retention incentives will reemerge to keep the talent you’ve got.  In a candidate market organizations will definitely need to revise their talent management strategy and probably need professional help to develop a competitive analysis to meet their workforce goals.


2011 Wage & Salary Executive Summery

February 14th, 2012

GeoSearch Wage and Salary Executive Summary 2011

State of the Geospatial Economy

February 1st, 2012

In the third quarter of 2008, when the collapse of large financial institutions disrupted the economy of the entire globe, many in the geospatial community wondered how severe the impact would be on a sector where one third of the total revenue comes from the public sector and another third is strongly tied to construction activity.  However, it didn’t take long for the full impact of the crisis to be felt.  By November of that year, most geospatial hiring activity halted.  2009 represented historically low GeoSearch job board activity and this was consistent with low volume postings for geospatial titles internet wide.  Real estate sales, state budgets, and large commercial projects that fuel the geospatial sector declined.

In the second quarter of 2010 geospatial job postings and hiring activity started to stabilize. Opportunities for entry and mid-level surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and technicians housed in engineering, surveying, mapping, and other traditional services firms managed to produce marginal growth and hiring related postings increased.  2011 built on that momentum with new opportunities for mapping technicians and professionals involved in the application development and use of GIS.  Further, demand for digital mapmaking is on the rise due to the mobile market and social network demand for fast, accurate, and complete location based information and this will likely be the main source of continuing job growth.

Complementing hiring trends, Wage & Salary data has realized similar ebbs and flows. Analysis of the category and classification of “GIS Manager”, since that category has been used in all 20 GeoSearch Wage & Salary Surveys, a dramatic 9.5% drop in salary occurred in the 2008 data compared to the 2009 data. An upward trend is beginning to emerge but wages in this category haven’t returned to the 2007 high when the reported average was $81,581.

The state of the geospatial economy appears to be strengthening by both the increase in opportunities and annual salary reporting’s. In addition to openings from location based technology demand, job openings will continue to increase from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or who leave the labor force altogether.

***This blog is an excerpt from:

Executive Summery – GeoSearch, Inc. - 2011 Wage & Salary Survey

Geospatial Career Leader, GeoSearch, Inc. Publishes 2011 Wage and Salary Survey

January 11th, 2012


Jan 11, 2012 -

The “2011 Survey” marks the 20th annual wage and salary survey GeoSearch, Inc. has compiled. The survey originated in an attempt to measure job categories that couldn’t be found in other surveys and it remains a unique source of geospatial compensation data. 133 geospatial employers participated in this year’s survey.  Participants included commercial companies and public agencies.  43.6% of participants employ fewer than 100 employees while 17.2% of participants employ over 1,000 employees. GeoSearch President Richard Serby states, “Since we measure data provided by organizations, rather than individuals, we believe the data is a more accurate snapshot of what actually exists in the marketplace.”


Modest gains in compensation was reported compared to the data reported the previous year.  For example, in the 2010 survey, a GIS Manager averaged $73,888 in annual wages.  In the 2011 survey, a GIS Manager averaged 75,799 in annual wages. This is an increase of 2.6%.  In this example, a GIS Manager is described as: Manages the GIS department; supervises GIS Specialists and Technicians; develops action plan for GIS development; acts as central communication point; acts as public information source; assists with integration of GIS into existing systems; prepares newsletters and makes presentations.  Typically reports to agency Director or Operations Manager. Typically requires B.S. degree in related field and five or more years’ experience.


Similarly, a Project Manager averaged $72,335 in the 2010 data compared with $73,288 in 2011 resulting in an increase of 1.3%.  The trend continued in most categories.  Ten total categories were surveyed in 2010 while twelve categories were surveyed in 2011, including a new category for LiDAR technicians.  Optimism about geospatial job growth is on the rise as confidence returns and salary trends should grow as competition for talent heats up with strong evidence of a recovering labor market in the US.  GeoSearch is now accepting orders for the 2011 Salary Survey. Cost is $130 and is ordered on-line at Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted.


Although this data is believed to be reliable and accurate, GeoSearch cannot claim statistical validity.  While the GeoSearch Wage and Salary Survey is a valuable tool, it is strongly suggested that this information be used in conjunction with other known data sources and that local and community cost-of-living, competition from other industries, and related matters be factored in to the interpretation of any wage and salary data, including this survey.
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GeoSearch, Inc is a personnel recruitment firm specializing in the geospatial sciences and technologies. GeoSearch began operations in October, 1989. October 12th 1995 was registered on-line making it the first geospatial job board.

2011 Wage and Salary Survey

December 10th, 2011

GeoSearch is now collecting data for the 2011 geospatial Wage and Salary Survey. If you are a GIS manager or HR professional and you want to participate in our 2011 Wage and Salary Survey click HERE. The survey is conducted on-line providing an efficient way of collecting information from a large number of respondents. Employer participants in the survey receive results for free. All employer identifying responses are confidential. Names of organizations or individuals are not shared, sold, or rented for any purpose. This is a survey of organizations, not individuals. The numbers represent the wage not the total rewards such as bonus, incentives, commissions, or other compensable factors for each job category.

GeoSearch, Inc. Celebrates Its’ Sweet Sixteen of On-Line Business

November 12th, 2011

GeoSearch, Inc. Celebrates Its’ Sweet Sixteen of On-Line Business

GIS Day 2011 – November 16, 2011.

November 7th, 2011

GIS Day promotes awareness of geographic information systems (GIS) technology throughout our world. GeoSearch promotion of GIS jobs and awareness is a year-long initiative. GIS Day Events can be found in more than 80 countries participating with corporate open houses, government hosted hands-on workshops, community expos, school assemblies, and more. GIS Day is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, The Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Esri.

The Global Population Hitting 7 billion

October 26th, 2011

The interactive map for a milestone expected at the end of October can be found here: National Geographic

When the population of the world reached one billion for the first time around 200 years ago, it was a time of expansion and exploration in the United States and a time of warfare and turmoil in Europe. Governments were tasked with building better roads and canals. Hard times in Europe lured thousands to the new country and the growing United States population sent many people into new areas in search of land. The rate of births has been out pacing the rate of deaths continually since that time. The global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, and six billion in 1999. With this new milestone, hopes are high. “Our world of 7 billion can have thriving, sustainable cities, productive labor forces that can fuel economic growth, youth populations that contribute to the well-being of economies and societies, and a generation of older people who are healthy and actively engaged in the social and economic affairs of their communities,” UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, said in a new report. Migration & immigration continue around the globe and mapping the location of everything will continue to be in high demand.

GeoSearch Covers The GEOINT 2011 Symposium

October 17th, 2011

The GEOINT 2011 Symposium (focused on promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft) kicked off with a pre-symposium on Sunday the 16th of October. Forums that explore the current state-of-the-art and future of wide area motion imagery (WAMI), full-motion video (FMV) platforms, and Mobile GEOINT Applications sessions inspired the day. Further, the “Future of GEOINT Professional Development” and Socio-Cultural Dynamics: “An Overview from a Diplomacy, Development, Defense and Intelligence Perspectives” rounded out the topical theme. However, it was the Six Flags Over Texas GEOINT 2011 Welcome Reception at Sunset Station that pumped up the party. Sponsored by Northrop Grumman, dozens of chartered busses transported conference attendees and sponsors to an outdoor venue with live music, Texas cuisine, and dancing. Off the bus, a mariachi band welcomed participants. Inside, one guitar player and other stringed music played Mexican style tunes. However, the headline band was Cactus Country, a cover band that played oldies, some rock, but mostly top chart country music. Line dancing with instruction ensued.

October 17, the Expo Hall opened at 11:00. Exhibits rage from giant organizations like Google, SAIC, Lockheed Martin, and Oracle to core geospatial organizations like Woolpert and Blue Marble Geographics. The term booth doesn’t fit this exhibit showcase. Some structures are two stories high, complete with a staircase to the 2nd floor. Huge video screens are on display with imagery that can be manipulated by touch. Large leather sofa’s and coffee tables allow participants to relax while taking in a demonstration. One vendor had a tall, beautiful, blond offering an authentic shoe shine atop an antique wooden shoe shine chair. Among the crowd walking the floor was the President of Continental Mapping Dave Hart. Brant Howard, founder of CompassCom and Hayden Howard, CompassData field services manager. Mark Safran Senior Manager at BAE, Joe Francica the Editor, Directions Magazine and Shawana Johnson of Global Marketing Insights.

This is the place to be to tap into the geospatial intelligence community of interest between government, industry, academic, and professional organizations. Cleared geospatial talent has always been in demand and GeoSearch has sourced that demographic for over a decade. The market demand for this group is increasing as fast as the technology is changing.

GIS Market Demand: Geospatial Application Developers

September 30th, 2011

Integrating GIS applications with internet operations is fast becoming the top project for many organizations. This has vamped up demand for developers that are needed to build scalable, powerful, and secure web/cloud based GIS applications. Governments and commercial operations are focused on the deployment and buildup of maps with strong security features, strong back-office integration features and supplemental advanced business logic tools. Visual Basic, C#, and ASP .NET programming with CADD, ESRI and/or Intergraph skills are hot! Further, the geospatial job market demand for technically strong Web application developers is on the rise. ArcGIS Online product development skill is hot in the GIS and Web mapping communities. Candidates with strong ESRI know-how can be software development programmers, product engineers, release managers, GIS professionals, and technical writers. The most popular cities include Houston, Texas – Washington, District of Columbia – Denver, Colorado – Atlanta, Georgia – San Francisco, California – Austin, Texas and Dallas, Texas.