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Geoscientist employment opportunities continue improvement despite June quarter slowdown

Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey June 2019

Employment opportunities for Australia’s geoscientists continued to show a very slowl-improving trend, despite disappoini.ng results for the second quarter (April to June). 

The second quarter setback saw unemployment rise from 7.5% at the end of March, to 9.3% at the end of June.On the other hand, underemployment amongst self-employed geoscientists fell from 20.5% to 14.9% for the same period.  The underemployment figure represents the proportion of self-employed geoscientists unable to secure more than one quarter of their desired workload.

The survey was completed by 734 respondents nationally.  Some 66% of respondents worked or sought work in mineral exploration.  A further 18% worked in metalliferous mining, while 5% of respondents worked or sought work in energy resource exploration and production.

Half of Australia’s geoscientists who are currently unemployed have been without work for more than 12 months.  A similar proportion sees little prospect of regaining employment in their field in the year ahead.  Almost one in ten unemployed geoscientists are looking to leave the profession, seeking more stable employment.

“The depressed employment prospects for geoscientists are a surprise given mineral exploration expenditure rose during the June quarter according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week although mineral exploration drilling declined,” AIG President, Andrew Waltho said. 

“There is little doubt that junior exploration and mining companies especially are experiencing difficulty raising capital to fund new exploration and producers are having to deal with considerable uncertainty and price volatility, at least partly due to trade tensions between the USA and China” Mr Waltho said.

“The increase in work secured by self-employed geoscientists is most welcome, especially in light of the sharp increase in under-employment observed in the previous survey,” Mr Waltho said.

“Long term unemployment is the big issue in these figures.  Half of Australia’s unemployed geoscientists have been without work for 12 months or more, and a similar number see no new opportunities on the horizon,” he said.

“Professional institutes, including AIG, are doing whatever we can to help members remain in touch with their colleagues and peers and maintain their skills, but it’s pretty hard to remain motivated when industry conditions appear to be stagnant,” Mr Waltho said.

The employment situation varied significantly between states in the latest survey results.

The lowest levels of both unemployment and under-employment were recorded in Western Australia.  Unemployment amongst professional geoscientists fell from 8.5% at the end of March to 7.8% at the end of June, while under-employment fell from 17.6% to 11.0% for the same period.

Victoria recorded the largest fall in the unemployment rate, from 11.8% at the end of March to 5.9% in June.  Under-employment in Victoria also fell from 17.6% at the end of March to 14.7% at the end of June.

Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia all recorded increases in both unemployment and under-employment.  Only a small number of responses were received from geoscientists working in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, which indicated near-full employment of small pools of local geoscientists.

Exploring a career in the minerals industry

The Geological Society of America (GSA), the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Society of Economic Geology will be hosting a webinar entitled Exploring a Career in the Minerals Industry. The webinar will be on Wednesday, 21 August 2019, at 11:00 a.m. MDT. This webinar will feature two presenters from Newmont Goldcorp who will provide perspectives of a senior project manager and a student near graduation on what a geologist does in this important sector and what it takes to work within this industry.

AIG members have been invited to participate in the webinar, one of a series covering different aspects of geoscientific employment.

Date and Time: 21 August 2019 at 11:00 a.m. MDT
22 August 2019 at 3:00 am Brisbane, 1:00 am Perth
Cost: FREE
Duration: 1 hour
Click here to Register  

The webinar will be recorded and made available to registrants.

About the Webinar
Mineral resources are essential for the world, from precious metals such as gold and their relationship to the global economy, base metals & rare earth minerals and their use in electronics through to industrial minerals used in creation of steel and other construction materials used in our everyday lives. In the past century these non-renewable resources have become both more readily mined and technically challenging to reach. This webinar will feature the perspectives of a senior project manager and a student near graduation on what a geologist does in this important sector and what it takes to work within this industry.

Geologists in the hard-rock sector are engaged in the discovery of metals & minerals as well as their interpretation and potential extraction. The mine development cycle creates opportunities for geoscientists in exploration, modelling, environmental, geotechnical, and production teams. Geoscientists in this field can work either for contracting and consulting firms or directly for corporations ranging in size from junior explorers to multi-national mining firms. Opportunities can include working in remote locations in the field and/or undertaking interpretation from regional centers. This often involves being part of a cross-functional team. As with any industry, demand fluctuates with the market, but skilled workers are always needed, and a good mining company invests in developing safe, long-term projects. Exploration and mining geologists work to fulfill the world’s mineral needs with integrity, expertise, and safety while facilitating community involvement, job creation, and transparency.

About the Presenters
Terry Briggs is part of a Regional Leadership Team currently supporting the South America region of Newmont Goldcorp with operations in Peru, Argentina, and Suriname as well as projects and joint ventures across the region. Previous roles at corporate in Newmont Goldcorp included leading the Geology Function within the Global Technical Services Group as well as running due diligence activities of assets for potential M&A within Corporate Development. Prior to joining Newmont, he worked at a variety of base and precious metal, open pit and underground operations in Australia, Eastern Europe, and South East Asia in both geological and operations management roles. He holds a master’s in Engineering (management) from the University of Colorado and a bachelor of science (specializing in economic geology) from Monash University.

About the Presenters
Terry Briggs is part of a Regional Leadership Team currently supporting the South America region of Newmont Goldcorp with operations in Peru, Argentina, and Suriname as well as projects and joint ventures across the region. Previous roles at corporate in Newmont Goldcorp included leading the Geology Function within the Global Technical Services Group as well as running due diligence activities of assets for potential M&A within Corporate Development. Prior to joining Newmont, he worked at a variety of base and precious metal, open pit and underground operations in Australia, Eastern Europe, and South East Asia in both geological and operations management roles. He holds a master’s in Engineering (management) from the University of Colorado and a bachelor of science (specializing in economic geology) from Monash University.

Elaine Lord holds a bachelor’s of science (hard rock emphasis) from Northern Illinois University, is pursuing a MSc. degree at the University of Alberta, and is currently interning at Newmont Goldcorp as a resource modeler. She has been part of the geological community since her childhood and has studied fossils, paleo-ecology, and resource modeling. Elaine has held positions ranging from GeoCorps park geologist intern to fossil preparator intern at the Field Museum, but has settled into mineral production geosciences as a career choice.

Geoscientist employment in Europe

The European Federation of Geologists announces 2018 employment survey results

EFG announced the results of the first employment survey of European geoscientists conducted last year. The objectives of the survey were to:

  • Analyse the labour market for geo- logists in Europe: In which industries do professional geologists work? Are their activities related to their training? Do they exploit job opportunities in other European countries? Which are the prospects for the future?
  • Provide geologists with a better over- view of labour opportunities in Eu- rope, helping them to construct their studies and careers,
  • Allow professional associations to of- fer better services to members, hel-ping them to find jobs,
  • Provide evidence for professional as- sociations to pursue the policy dia- logue with universities and education authorities improving the training of geologists.

The survey results are presented as a two page report, available here.

Unemployment down but self-employed geoscientists continue to struggle

Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey – March 2019

Unemployment amongst Australian geoscientists continued to fall during the first quarter of 2019.  At 31 March 2019, the latest AIG Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed an unemployment rate of 7.5%, down from 9.1% recorded three months earlier at the end of December 2018.  

The underemployment rate amongst self-employed geoscientists, however, increased to 20.5%, continuing an upturn in the under-employment rate evident in the December 2018 survey when a rate of 18.5% was recorded.

Geoscientist unemployment in Australia – June 2009 – March 2019

The fall in geoscientist unemployment continues a gradual, downward trend that became evident in March 2016.

In the first quarter of 2019, geoscientist unemployment increased in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory.  The biggest increase was observed in Victoria where the unemployment rate increased from 5.9% to 11.8%.  In Queensland, the unemployment rate fell from 15.1% to 9.4%. Underemployment increased in every state except South Australia, where the rate fell from 36.8% to 31.2%.  Too few responses were received from Tasmania to quote figures for that state.

Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment by state – March 2019

AIG President, Andrew Waltho, welcomed the continued fall in geoscientist employment but noted that self-employed geoscientists continued to struggle.  

“There is, clearly, evidence that increased industry activity, particularly in mineral exploration, is creating new employment opportunities for geoscientists, particularly in mineral exploration, but any talk of a boom seems premature” Mr Waltho said.

“We received excellent response to the survey again, with more than 400 contributions received from geoscientists across Australia” Mr Waltho said.

The next survey in this series, for the second quarter of 2019, will open for contributions in early July.

Geoscientist careers in insurance

Have you thought about how geoscience can contribute to assessment of exposure to catastrophic loss from natural disasters? Ever considered this as a career option?

Aon, an international insurance company has opportunities for geoscientists interested in applying their skills to natural hazard risk assessment and other risk analysis fields where geoscience can have a significant impact.

Aon are looking for geoscientists to work as Analytics Client Managers where you would:

  • Use your technical skills to build a career in the world of reinsurance & risk-based analytics 
  • Join the world’s and Asia’s largest reinsurance brokerage in Sydney or Melbourne 
  • Be trained and mentored by people with similar academic backgrounds 

The opportunity

Join Aon’s successful and expanding operation in either Sydney or Melbourne as an Analytics Client Manager. The position is responsible for delivering analysis of clients’ exposure to catastrophic loss from natural disasters, for analysing pricing for risk transfer mechanisms developed to mitigate those exposures, and for communicating the results of our analysis to clients and reinsurers. You will be required to: 

  • Oversee analysis of client data through use of catastrophe models 
  • Work with team members in developing client specific realistic disaster scenarios including potential impact of climate change 
  • Be able to advise clients on all aspects related to exposure management to improve their catastrophe risk analysis capabilities. 
  • Effectively manage client and other stakeholder engagements and communicate results to these stakeholders using written reports and/or presentations 
  • Conduct training sessions for junior/graduate staff, ensuring the effective and efficient communication of concepts, practical implementation and delivery of results 
  • Provide mentoring for younger members of the team 

About you

You’re comfortable working in a fast paced and dynamic environment and you’re ready to a step into a role that combines technical work and client interaction. If you have exposure to insurance or reinsurance, it would be welcomed but it is not required. To be successful you will have: 

  • Demonstrable experience in using relevant tools to measure exposure to catastrophic loss, including a working knowledge of the science behind the natural events (cyclones, bushfires, storms, floods, earthquakes, etc.) causing loss. 
  • Understand the theory and practicalities of stochastic modelling with advanced Excel and SQL skills and strong working knowledge of MS Word and presentation software such as PowerPoint 
  • Excellent personal skills in engaging with clients, building rapport and managing professional relationships 
  • Strong problem solving and analytical skills with the ability to work well within a team and under pressure 
  • The self-discipline to manage own workflow and deadlines with excellent communication skills (both oral and written) 

Aon are looking to nurture talent from the geosciences sector to bring a diversity of skills to our analytics team, strengthening our client offering. With Aon’s global resources and our commitment to supporting people’s flexible working needs, we are able to mentor and train people from different backgrounds to ensure success. 

Aon Culture and Benefits

At Aon, we provide colleagues with the support to make a positive impact together with ongoing opportunities for development, including the support of a team which will continually inspire you to achieve the best. 

With close to 1600 employees, Aon is the largest organisation of our kind in Australia. Globally, we have an employee base of 50,000 people working across 120 countries. This allows us to gather the best thinking from around the world and deliver solutions locally. We provide colleagues with the support to make an impact, a team that will inspire you to achieve, and on-going opportunities for development. 

Aon is an equal opportunity employer and we invite you to be part of an organisation that has a diverse workplace, values continuous learning and supports many charities and environmental initiatives. 

To find out more details, please contact Alex Kelly bu email or apply here. Some additional information about working for Aon, the company’s health and well being policy and additional information for job seekers, follow the links provided.