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Geoscientist employment improves in Q3

Australian geoscientist employment improved marginally in the third quarter of 2019.

The latest AIG Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed that unemployment amongst Australian. geoscientists fell to 7.4% at the end of September, down from 9.3% at the end of July. The underemployment rate also fell to 14.1%, from 14.9% for the same period.

Australian geoscientist employment – June 2009 to September 2019

The survey results, at a national level, continue a gradually improving trend evident since March 2016, but the rate of improvement appears to have slowed since March 2018.

The number of long-term unemployed geoscientists continued to increase with 47% of unemployed and under-employed geoscientists having little to no work for more than one year, or more than two years for 34% of respondents.

AIG President, Andrew Waltho, welcomed the continued improvement in both the unemployment and under-employment rates, with the reservation that the rate of improvement remains slow. “The most disappointing and serious statistic is the proportion of long term unemployed and under-employed geoscientists” Mr Waltho said. “AIG and kindred professional institutes continue to promote the need to recognise the high-level scientific skills possessed by this pool of experienced professionals that can be applied in a broad range of fields where an ability to understand and interpret Earth systems and processes is valuable”. “In the meantime, AIG continues to provide members with effective and accessible opportunities for members to maintain and expand their professional networks and undertake continued professional development” Mr Waltho said. “Members accessing these opportunities are actively working to resurrect their careers and value this support” he said.

The unemployment and under-employment rates amongst geoscientists in Australia varied substantially between states.

Unemployment amongst geoscientists decreased in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, but increased in Victoria and South Australia. The greatest improvement in unemployment was evident in Victoria. No Northern Territory respondents responded as being unemployed. Too few responses were received from Tasmania for state results to be reported.

Under-employment, defined as respondents being able to attract less than 25% of their desired workload, decreased in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia but increased in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory. The lowest under-employment results was evident in Victoria.

Australian geoscientist unemployment and under-employment by state – September 2019

Almost 71% of respondents reported being full-time employees, on staff or fixed term contracts. Only 3% work part time and between 4% and 5% are casual employees. Self-employed geoscientists comprise 22% of the profession.

Australian geoscientist employment basis – September 2019

Geoscience remains a male dominated profession in Australia.

Some 85% of survey respondents were men and 15% women. One respondent identified with neither gender. There are relatively more women pursuing geoscience careers in Australia in the 0-15 years experience groups, with the highest proportion of women responding to the survey having between 10 and 15 years experience.

Gender diversity in Australian geoscience – September 2019

“Clearly, more needs to be done to attract women to geoscience careers, and retain women in the profession with more than 15 years experience if gender equity is to be achieved” Mr Waltho said. “It’s a serious issue, central to the public recognition vitality of the geoscience profession that will take concerted and committed action by all geoscientists in Australia to address”.

The next employment survey will open for contributions in early January 2020. AIG values the continued support of both members and non-members who take a few minutes to complete the survey each quarter and encourages as many geoscientists working in all sectors of the profession in Australia to contribute.

Funding for Women’s Leadership Development Available

Women and Leadership Australia have funding is available to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s science sector. 

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $2,000 and $7,000 to enable participation in one of three programs that cover such things as reinforcing resilience and wellbeing, engaging with challenge and conflict, creating future focus, leading authentically and driving performance.

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for science sector women, but has to be allocated by the end of 2019.

Expressions of Interest 

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 6th December: www.wla.edu.au/funding.html

Exploration Radio

AIG is proud to announce that it will be a sponsor of the Exploration Radio podcast for the next 12 months.

Sponsorship of the podcast was approved by the AIG Council at its meeting earlier this week.  

The sponsorship will help Exploration Radio’s presenters Ahmad Saleem and Steve Beresford deliver more great content to listeners, including many AIG members, throughout Australia and internationally.

Exploration Radio is always interesting, topical and a great professional development resource for geoscientists interested in all aspects of mineral exploration everywhere, anytime.  

The podcast is particularly beneficial for geoscientists working in the field, on commute rosters or overseas, interested in keeping informed about developments and ideas relevant to both the present and future of their profession.

Listening to Exploration Radio is a valuable, readily accessible source of continued professional development (CPD) hours for AIG members.  

Podcast episodes can be downloaded from the Exploration Radio website or most popular podcast distribution channels, including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.

J.H. Rattigan Map Collection

The National Library of Australia is currently undertaking a program of describing and digitizing their map collections.

The library holds a number of collections from cartographers, geographers, planners and other professionals, including geoscientists, that are kept together as formed collections, separate from the library’s general map collection.

The library recently digitised and described the Dr. J.H. Rattigan map collection, which consists of geological maps of the Hunter Region by G.D. Osborne. The collection has a finding aid.

Extract from Osborne’s geological map of the Carboniferous system between Glennies Creek and Muscle Creek, Hunter River District in the NLA Collection.

G.D. Osborne was considered one of Australia’s’ earliest pioneering structural geologists and his hand drawn maps date back to the 1900’s. You can view his collection of hand-drawn maps here.

The library would love to receive feedback and hear how people use these collections. Contact maps@nla.gov.au.

Adelong Norite unveiled and a small piece of Antarctica on its way to the National Rock Garden in Canberra

At the end of last year, a nine-tonne block of Adelong Norite (aka black granite) was added to the National Rock Garden. This uncommon mafic igneous rock is from the historic gold mining town of Adelong in the Snowy Mountains region of southern New South Wales and was generously donated by Sheri McEvoy. The Adelong Norite has been mined as a decorative building and monumental stone from small quarries around the town, but these are now closed. However, several quarried blocks remain on private property near the quarries. The rock was used to stunning effect in the Qantas House building in Sydney, which opened in 1957. More recently it has been utilised by Australian artist Andreas Buisman to create evocative rock sculptures, including a beautiful polished boulder that rests on the grave of famous eye surgeon Fred Hollows in the western New South Wales town of Bourke. Andreas generously agreed to donate his own time to create two cameo sculptures on the NRG block and has offered to do further work on the piece.

Adelong Norite showing one of the sections sculptured by Andreas Buisman

The inauguration of the Adelong Norite took place on the 25th of November and was attended by 80 people, including special guests Andreas Buisman and Gabby Hollows (widow of Fred Hollows). The display was unveiled by Suzzane Orr MLA for the ACT Government. The National Rock Garden gratefully acknowledges Bendigo Bank Adelong and the Snowy Valleys Council for funding to transport the rock from Adelong to the NRG.

Inauguration of the Addelong norite speciman, National Rock Garden

The National Rock Garden has also been fortunate to acquire its first iconic rock from an Australian territory. in the form of two magnificent blocks of Mawson Charnockite from Antarctica. These samples have been generously donated by the Australian Antarctic Division, who also arranged transport from Antarctica to Tasmania. The rocks recently arrived in Hobart after their shipping from Mawson by barge and the Aurora Australis. They are currently stored at the Mineral Resources Tasmania Core Storage Facility awaiting funding for transport to the NRG.

The Mawson Charnockite occurs around Mawson Station, one of Australia’s three research bases in Antarctica. Both the station and the rock are named after Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s most famous Antarctic explorer and a prominent geologist. The rock is described as a brown, gneissic charnockite with a slight to moderate foliation and numerous xenoliths.

The inspiration for including a sample of the Mawson Charnockite in the National Rock Garden came from the late Professor Patrick Quilty, a palaeontologist and geologist who was passionate about Antarctic geoscience and its promotion internationally. He made many research trips to Antarctica and was Chief Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division from 1981 to 1999. Pat believed that a piece of Antarctica from Australia’s Antarctic Territory would be a fitting memorial to the work of Sir Douglas Mawson and other Australian geologists and scientists who have contributed to understanding the frozen continent. The rock also provides a reminder of the geological connections of Australia to the other southern continents as part of Gondwana.

The National Rock Garden acknowledges the Australian Antarctic Division for the donation of these samples and their transportation to Tasmania. The NRG Steering Committee also thanks Mineral Resources Tasmania for agreeing to safely store the rocks until they can be transported to Canberra.

Ken McQueen MAIG, National Rock Garden Steering Committee.

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