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Table 4Recent Graduates (All Levels) by Employer
Percent of Total
Percent In Closely Related Fields
Source: Recent graduates survey.
teacher. Many of our respondents saw themselves as performing geographic jobs even though this was not reflected in their job titles.
A third interpretation is that individuals working in fields other than those traditionally considered geographic find work in areas in which they have prior experience. Since our analysis neither holds constant the respondent's age nor classifies individuals on the basis of prior education or professional experience, we do not know the extent to which our survey is picking up prior preparation or work experience that leads to a nontraditional employment experience.
Greater confidence in our hypotheses about the recent labor market experiences of geographers requires more in-depth study of individual work experiences during the early- to mid-career years. Longitudinal analysis can verify the existence of a period of transition and adjustment when students move from part-time, temporary employment to full-time positions closely connected to their geographic training. Content analysis can decipher the potential relevance of the educational experience of students receiving degrees to tasks performed on the job. What if, for example, field-defined skills such as GIS, remote sensing, air photo interpretation, and cartography are not as important as the students' problem solving and decision making abilities? From a curricular standpoint, greater emphasis on professional practice, demeanor, and real world work experience may be more important than adding technical courses to academic curricula.
Convention Placement Service (CoPS)
A second glimpse at current labor market conditions in geography comes from the AAG's Convention Placement Service (CoPS). Held at the AAG's annual meeting, CoPS seeks to match job applicants with employers. Since 1989, the first year for which data are available, there has emerged a growing mismatch between the number of applicants and the number of interviews granted to these applicants (Fig. 1). In 1994, the 259 job seekers registered with CoPS attended only 156 interviews—an average of less than one interview per applicant.
Employers and job applicants who register with CoPS select from among a number of job
Table 5Graduates (All Levels) by Employer and Occupation