EOD provides worldwide job positions related to Earth Observation and Remote Sensing since more than a year. To celebrate its birthday, few statistics has been computed to draw the profile of the Remote Sensing / GIS specialist.

Which country is particularly attractive? Which kind of opportunity is more often proposed? Which skills are the most required? And at last but not at least, how much a remote sensing scientist can expect earn? That’s some questions you probably already wonder whether you are a student who think about his future career, a job seeker trying to refine his resume or just ... curious.

The following statistics are based on the published opportunities from mid-2013 to mid-2014. Let’s just remind that EOD mainly focus on worldwide opportunities and these statistics may have some differences compared to local/national offers. Moreover, these statistics remain tentative (based on our own data) and some other sources may contradict these trends.

Where can you find a job?

Amongst the 398 offers, stats say that most of opportunities are offered in Europe (57%) followed by North America (21%). However that’s more interesting to sort them by countries and see that USA and UK overwhelm all the other. They are closely followed by Germany (11%) and Netherlands (7%). It shows us 2 important things: The first one may highlight a bias of our analysis (EOD only publishes some English opportunities and that can explain why English spoken countries are on the top). The second thing is, despite this bias, the number of job in Germany and the Netherlands remains very close to UK. It lets us think that these countries provide numerous offers where language barrier is probably not a problem.

Chart: GIS and Remote Sensing jobs per continent
Chart: GIS and Remote Sensing jobs per country

Worldwide position, what are they? Public or private?

EOD splits jobs in 4 categories: PhD fellowship (22%), Postdoctoral fellowship (19%), Job (56%) and Internship (4%). It shows that academic positions (PhD and Postdoc) are really well represented among the opportunities.

This information is confirmed on next figure where 85 % of them are provided by public institutions. Among those, international institutions (such as United Nations, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, Joint Research Council) are significant (14%) and it can support the view that earth observation for global issues is meaningful. However it’s surprising that EOD just referenced few NGO positions (2%) while remote sensing seems to have so many potentialities in this area.

It’s important to notice that private companies (13%) are still lagging behind the public institutions. That may not due to an underuse of satellite images but probably because private companies may focus on hiring local/national candidates, which our website cannot always reference (advertisements not published on the web, not in English, etc).

Chart: Type of jobs Chart: Top of hiring organization

Which technical skills for the best candidates?

Not all offers mention some specific software or techniques. Among the ones that mentioned some, it clearly shows that language programming is more than welcome: it’s a requirement. MATLAB, Python, C++, FORTRAN are in the top 5 of the most cited skills. In effect, most of the job opportunities propose to get involve in developing (‘language programming’) dedicated tools for specific project. Moreover, language programming is highly correlated with Statistics and Image processing skills (the software like R, MATLAB, Python, IDL are nearly same).

GIS software are well represented and it’s not a surprise to see ArcGIS as the most mentioned software. It remains a very popular software able to manage and process vector and raster data.

Considering skills based on Opensource software like R, QGIS and GRASS, they are not on the top of the list and may reflect the use of commercial software as basic skills.Moreover, we notice that the Orfeo Toolbox has never been mentioned in our opportunities. That’s such a pity when we know the numerous advantage and development possibilities of this ‘toolbox’. May it will appear next year!

By the way, it's kind of surprising that Photoshop is more common than dedicated software like IDRISI or MapInfo ...

Chart: Most common required skill for a GIS and Remote Sensing Job

Salary expectations

Firstly, let’s mention that only less than 25% of the offers provide some salary indications. Moreover most of salary is indicated as gross salary (before deductions of taxes, pensions…). The net salary then fluctuates between countries, which adds to the vagueness of the following statistics.

Salaries fluctuate from 1400€/month (for a postdoctoral position in Czech Republic to 10’848€/ month (for a sea level project in Australia). The median salary is about 3266€ /month or 39’200€/year (4511US$/month or 54’136/year). It can be explain by the majority of early-stage positions published (PhD, Postdoctoral fellowship). On the last figure, it shows some other salary ranges more suitable for mid-career (over 5000€/month) and senior position (over 6500€/month).

Finally, let's mention that best-paid jobs published on EOD seem to be in Australia, United Kingdom and USA.

$Chart: Salary expectation