Diversity in the natural resource workforce

Maria Florentina Mejia, Kerry L. Griffis-Kyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resource managers in the natural resource profession address large and complex issues that have expanded as the diversity of stakeholders using these resources has grown. Management decisions impact people's access to these resources, so including a variety of perspectives in this process is vital for addressing these growing priorities and diverse perspectives. However, the profession fails to represent the human diversity of its constituency. To inform recruitment efforts and retention of diverse groups of professionals, we studied influential experiences, supports and barriers to career development, and timing of career selection. We surveyed 597 students and natural resource professionals in Texas. We found all were drawn to this field because it was intrinsically satisfying; however, females were more intrinsically motivated and males more extrinsically motivated. We also identified differences in influential experiences based on ethnicity suggesting better targeted outreach that addresses cultural differences throughout the formative years is necessary to improve recruitment. The most frequently cited barriers to career progression were the low pay and job security that graduates face when entering the workforce as well as the lack of teacher and mentor support through professional development. The field of natural resources has been improving in workforce diversity but still does not represent the human diversity in the general population. Targeting engaging activities for young children, establishing appropriate mentoring programs, and offering better paying permanent jobs to graduates rather than seasonal employment are ways that the profession could further improve workforce human diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalTexas Journal of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 21 2020


  • Career barriers
  • Career motivation
  • Inclusion
  • Professionals
  • Students
  • Workforce diversity


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