Assessing How Inclusive Geoscience Job Advertisements Are to Persons with Disabilities

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Gregory Shafer, Boise State University
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
The geoscience community has been making efforts to promote diversity, but individuals with physical disabilities are still largely 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 over 2,500 job advertisements (ads) for entry-level geoscience positions across 19 industries to assess how inclusive the job market is for people with physical disabilities. We evaluated each ad's Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO) and accommodation statements to create a measure of geoscience employers' appreciation for people with disabilities. We coded each ad for instances where physical abilities (i.e., traversing rough terrain, driving a vehicle, frequently lifting heavy objects) were listed as required or preferred qualifications and whether these abilities matched the core job functions. A significant proportion of ads (44%) did not include EEO statements, and of many that did, the language used could be improved. For example, nearly half of the ads providing EEO statements simply put "EEO" or "Equal Opportunity Employer" near or at the bottom of the ad. Additionally, only 18% of ads mentioned accommodations for people with disabilities. In only 19% of the ads that required physical abilities did the physical abilities clearly align with the core job functions. 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.