GeoSearch Tracks U.S. Geospatial Employment in Q3 2012

October 24, 2012

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Richard Serby, president of GeoSearch, presented the finding of a geospatial employment trends survey at GIS in the Rockies in September. Eighty U.S. employers participated.  The data were gathered September 18 – 21, 2012.

The Survey Participants (n=80)


  • 60% commercial small to mid-size companies
  • 20% city/county public agencies
  • 9% state agencies
  • 7% colleges and universities
  • Remainder - “other”


  • 90% fewer than 100 geospatial employees
  • 4.5% 101 – 200 geospatial employees
  • Remainder:  more than 200 geospatial employees

The Findings

Hiring Plans

  • 31% hiring in 2012 and 2013
  • 22% hiring in 2013
  • 24% not sure about hiring in 2013
  • 23% not hiring in 2013

Changes in Hiring

  • 24% hiring is lower than past two years
  • 40% hiring is about the same as past two years
  • 32% hiring is higher than past two years

Prediction for Geospatial Employment

  • 22% predict lower job growth in 2013
  • 40% predict about the same rate of growth in 2013
  • 32% predict that job growth will increase in 2013

Job Categories

  • 55% will hire GIS Technicians (0-4 years experience)
  • 44% will hire GIS Specialists (5+ years experience)
  • 41% will hire GIS Software / Web Developers
  • 21% will hire Sales / Marketing / Account Executives
  • 18% will hire Business Development Managers
  • 15% will hire LiDAR Technicians
  • 14% will hire Photogrammetrists
  • 12% will hire Remote Sensing Technicians
  • 12% will hire Project / Program Managers


  • When looking at these data be sure to remember that the sample size is but 80 companies in the United States, the vast majority of which have fewer than 100 employees and are commercial. That does not reflect the actual distribution of geospatial jobs in the U.S.; those are primarily in the public sector.
  • The future looks bright with more than half of respondents expecting to hire in both 2012 and 2013 or just 2013.
  • Nearly 75% of employers describe hiring as on par with or higher than the past two years.
  • Nearly 2/3 predict job growth will stay the same or rise as compared with the last two years.
  • The three top job categories to be filled are all technical: technicians, specialists and GIS software/Web developers.

Richard Serby adds:

We have seen the geospatial employment market gradually improve for the past two years.   National presidential campaigns cause a pause in hiring.  We predict that hiring activity will accelerate once we get past the November elections.  December and the 1st quarter of 2013 should be reasonably active and a good sign for job seekers.


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