The State of Geospatial Employment – 2018
We have great news regarding the overall economy! This is typically measured by large purchases like automobiles, homes, and large appliances. From 2017 to 2018, auto sales were up slightly to 16.8 million. Home sales increased 17.6% during this time and unemployment was 3.9% nationally in August 2018 compared to 4.7% in December 2017. We are now close to full employment with a 2% unemployment rate indicating those who do not want to work. These are all signs that we are in a robust economy!
Many states in the U.S. have an unemployment rate of less than 3.9%. The top five states with the lowest unemployment are Hawaii, Iowa, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Colorado. Alternatively, the states with the highest unemployment are Alaska, Washington DC, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi with rates ranging from 4.8-6.9%. Generally, the overall economy likes to see 5% unemployment which indicates there are as many jobs available as people to fill them.
When it comes to education, those without a high school diploma have the highest unemployment rate of 5%.
You will notice the rate of unemployment goes down as the level of education goes up:
- High School Diploma – 3.9%
- Associate’s Degree – 3.3%
- Bachelor’s Degree – 2.3%
- Master’s Degree – 2.1%
- Doctorate or Professional Degree – 1.8%
According to a Millner & Associates study, 44% of all employers plan to add full-time, permanent positions in 2018, up from 40% in 2017. Six percent expect a decrease in staffing levels, down from 8% last year, while 45% anticipate no change and 5% are unsure of plans. Filling these positions may prove to be challenging as 45% of HR managers currently have jobs they cannot fill due to a lack of qualified talent. Fifty-eight percent of these same HR managers reported they have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer.
Employers are expected to also have a harder time holding on to current employees with 40% of workers planning to change jobs in 2018.
Geospatial Hiring Trends
Our most recent annual survey includes 3000-3600 employees. Small businesses represent 83.2% (100 geospatial employees or less). 16.8% are medium-large businesses with over 100 geospatial employees.
The hiring outlook is promising as the companies reporting back to us are planning on doing more hiring:
- 83.8% – Entry to Mid-Level Technicians
- 48.3% – Senior Level Technicians
- 22.5% – Project/Production Management
- 16.1% – Sales/Marketing/Business Development
- 9.6% – Executive Level Management
You will notice a significant upward trend in salaries due to the economy. Please note these are base salaries that do not include commissions, bonuses, or profit-sharing.
- 2.9% – Less than $49,000
- 5.8% – $50,000-59,000
- 8.8% – $60,000-69,000
- 20.5% – $70,000-89,000
- 20.5% – $100,000 or more
- 11.7% – $60,000-69,000
- 5.8% – $70,000-79,000
- 8.8% – $80,000-89,000
- 14.7% – $90,000-99,000
- 14.7% – $100,000 or more
Photogrammetrist (0-5 years’ experience)
- 5.8% – $30,000-39,000 ($14.50-18.84/hr)
- 20.5% – $40,000-49,000 ($19.30-23.67/hr)
- 29% – $50,000-79,000 ($24.15-33.82/hr)
- 8.8% – $80,000 or more ($38.65 or more/hr)
- 44.1% of respondents do not hire photogrammetrists
Photogrammetrist (6 or more years’ experience)
- 35.1% – $50,000-69,000 ($24.15-38.16/hr)
- 17.5% – $70,000-90,000+ ($33.82-44.00+/hr)
Please note, there was a time when photogrammetrists were not talked about because the jobs were being outsourced. Thankfully, these jobs are being brought back to the U.S.
Geospatial Technician (0-5 years’ experience)
- 26.4% – $30,000-39,000 ($14.49-18.84/hr)
- 29.4% – $40,000-49,000 ($19.32-23.67/hr)
- 44% – $50,000-79,000 ($24.15-38.16/hr)
Geospatial Specialist (6 or more years’ experience)
- 23.5% – $40,000-49,000 ($19.30-23.67/hr)
- 17.6% – $50,000-59,000 ($24.15-28.50/hr)
- 14.7% – $60,000-69,000 ($28.99-33.33/hr)
- 14.7% – $70,000-79,000 ($33.82-38.16/hr)
- 11.6% – $80,000 or more ($38.65 or more/hr)
Software Developer (0-5 years’ experience)
- 20.5% – $30,000-49,000 ($18.84-23.67/hr)
- 20.5% – $50,000-69,000 ($24.15-33.33/hr)
- 14.7% – $70,000-80,000+ ($33.82-38.65+/hr)
Software Developer (6 or more years’ experience)
- 35.2% – $60,000-89,000 ($28.99-43.00/hr)
- 29.3% – $90,000-100,000+ ($43.50-48.00/hr)
Here is what we can expect the hiring plans to look like for companies hiring GIS workers:
- 84% will hire GIS Technicians (0-4 years’ experience)
- 48% will hire GIS Specialists (5+ years’ experience)
- 50% will hire GIS Software/Web Developers
- 16% will hire Sales/Marketing/Account Executives/Business Development
- 23% will hire Project/Production Managers
Where are the Jobs?
The short answer is that they are everywhere. The top states mentioned in the most recent literature are West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington State, Texas, Idaho, and Utah.
The Importance of Internships
Internships are a bridge to employment. They are a very important part of anyone’s college education or certification program. The ability to connect with an employer as a paid or unpaid intern gives you the opportunity to show how important you are to an organization, that you can show up on time, and are the type of person that would make a great employee. If you are a student, talk with your department chair about internships. If you are a mid-career or have been out of geospatial for any amount of time, an internship gets you back into the profession. Updating your skills through certification programs is also very important.
The Geospatial Competency Model
The Department of Labor recognized “geospatial” as a unique industry. As such, the Competency Model was developed with the aptitudes expected within geospatial and the language used in resumes and proposals. The first tier shows competencies that a large number of occupations and industries should possess. The further up the pyramid you go, the more specific the skills become. You can learn more about the geospatial competency model here.