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Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey – September 2017

The 2017 September quarter Australian geoscientist employment survey is open for contributions until 21st October.  You can complete the survey here.

This survey will provide data on trends in geoscientist employment in Australia during the third (June to September) quarter of 2017.

The June 2017 employment survey showed that unemployment and under-employment for geoscientists continued to improve, although the rate of improvement was observed to differ markedly between different sectors of our profession.  Mineral exploration fared worse than metalliferous mining and energy resource exploration and production.  The survey results supported a broader perception of improving employment conditions for mining professionals but demonstrated that Australia’s mineral project pipeline remains fragile due to a lack of exploration contributing to new discoveries needed to sustain the industry.  Exploration investment, however, has also increased according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.  This survey will provide data on whether this has contributed to improved employment opportunities.

AIG needs your support by completing this survey.  The survey results are reported widely and used to promote and inform others of the health of our exploration and mining industry.  The data supports advocacy by AIG on the need for responsible, sustainable resource exploration throughout Australia.

The survey takes only two minutes to complete.  You do not need to be an AIG member to contribute.  No data that could personally identify respondents is collected.

Your completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.

The survey will remain open for contributions until 21st October but please take two minute to complete it now.

March Quarter 2017 Geoscientist Employment Survey Open!

This latest instalment in AIG’s Australian Geoscientist Employment survey series will provide data on trends in geoscientist employment in Australia during the first quarter of 2017.

The improvement in employment prospects for Australia’s geoscientists evident during 2016 came to an end in the final quarter of the year.

At 31st December 2016, the unemployment rate amongst Australian geoscientists was 14.4% and the under-employment rate was 19.5%, up slightly from 13.9% and 18.8% respectively at the end of September 2016. The unemployment and underemployment rates at the end of 2016 were, however, lower than those recorded earlier in the year.

There have been signs of improvement in the employment situation and state of the resource exploration sector in Australia. Consultants are reporting increased workloads but exploration expenditure in Australia remains flat. The land areas held under exploration licence in Australia also continue to decline.

This survey is opening only a relatively short time after the December quarter 2016 survey – this survey opens a month later than usual due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Thanks to your support, this survey series is becoming increasingly recognised as an important indicator of not only geoscientist employment but the general health of the exploration and mining sectors in Australia. The survey results are reported widely and used to promote and inform others of the health of an industry which is vital to Australia’s economy. Importantly, the data supports advocacy by AIG on the need to improve access to land for responsible, well executed resource exploration throughout Australia. Please support this ongoing initiative by taking a few minutes to complete this latest instalment in the survey series and encouraging your friends and colleagues to do so.

You do not need to be an AIG member to participate.  Please note that no data that could personally identify respondents is collected by this survey.

The few minutes of your time spent completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.

Complete the survey now by following this link.  The survey will be open until Friday 28th April.

Latest Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey open for contributions

The survey can be accessed here.  The survey will be open for contributions until 16th July 2016.  You do not need to be an AIG member to participate.  

It takes only a minute or two to complete and collects no personally identifiable data.

The latest Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey is collecting data for the second quarter of 2016 (1st April to 30th June).  This is the latest installment in the survey series which commenced in June 2009.

The March 2016 quarter Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed that employment prospects for geoscientists throughout Australia remained at highly depressed levels.

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At the end of March, the unemployment rate increased from 18.7% at the end of December 2015, and the combined unemployed + underemployed rate increased from 42.1% to 42.9%, a new highest rate recorded since the AIG surveys commenced.

Almost 60% of self-employed geoscientists were unable to secure more than one quarter of their desired workload during the quarter, pointing to a real unemployment rate of 33.3%. The survey also revealed that 49%, almost half, of Australia’s unemployed and underemployed geoscientists have been without work for more than 12 months.

In the past three months there have been growing but anecdotal signs of some improvement in mineral, coal and petroleum exploration activity.  Whether this has translated into real improvement in employment is what this latest survey in the series will assess.

Thanks to your support, this survey series is becoming regarded as an important indicator of not only geoscientist employment but the general health of the exploration and mining sectors in Australia.  The survey results are reported widely and used to promote and inform others of the health of an industry which is vital to Australia’s economy.  Please support this ongoing initiative by taking a few minutes to complete this latest instalment in the survey series and encouraging your friends and colleagues to do so.  Special thanks are also extended to members whose suggestions helped to refine survey questions for this installment in the survey series.

The few minutes of your time spent completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.

Please contribute to the survey by the 16th July 2016 closing date.

Latest Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey open for contributions

The December 2015 quarter Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed that employment prospects for geoscientists throughout Australia were the worst since these surveys commenced.

At 31 December 2015, the unemployment rate amongst Australian geoscientists was 18.7% and the under-employment rate was 23.4%. The combined unemployment and under-employment rate of 42.1% was the highest recorded since the AIG surveys commenced in mid-2009.

In the past three months there have been anecdotal signs of some improvement in mineral, coal and petroleumexploration activity. Whether this has translated into improved employment conditions is some thing that this latest survey in the series will test.

Thanks to your support, this survey series is becoming regarded as an important indicator of not only geoscientist employment but the general health of the exploration and mining sectors in Australia. The survey results are reported widely and used to promote and inform others of the health of an industry which is vital to Australia’s economy.

Please support this ongoing initiative by taking a few minutes to complete this latest instalment in the survey series and encouraging your friends and colleagues to do so. You do not need to be an AIG member to participate. Please note that no data that could personally identify respondents is collected by this survey.

Click here to complete the survey. It will only take a few minutes to help make a difference by contributing. The survey will be open for contributions for two weeks (until 15th April).

Geoscientist employment in Australia continues its slide to record lows

Employment prospects for Australia’s professional geoscientists declined further in the last quarter of 2015 according to the results of the latest quarterly survey by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG).

At 31 December 2015, the unemployment rate amongst Australian geoscientists was 18.7% and the under-employment rate was 23.4%. The combined unemployment and under-employment rate of 42.1% was the highest recorded since the AIG surveys commenced in mid-2009 (Figure 1).

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Figure 1.  Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment in Australia June 2009 – December 2015 

Less than 50% of self-employed geoscientists were able to secure more than one quarter of their desired workload, pointing to a real unemployment rate of 31.1%, also the highest rate recorded by the AIG surveys to date and more than 10% higher than at the peak of the Global Financial Crisis of 2009.

Geoscientist employment declined in every state, except NSW where it remained static, and Victoria where unemployment actually fell but under-employment increased. The greatest increase in unemployment was observed in Queensland, where unemployment and underemployment rates were more than 15% higher than those observed in September 2015, followed by South Australia (Figure 2, Figure 3).

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Figure 2.  Geoscientist unemployment and underemployment by State

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Figure 3.  Changes in geoscientist employment since the previous survey in September 2015

Well over 40% of unemployed and underemployed geoscientists have been out of work, or unable to secure their desired level of work for more than 12 months, pointing to a growing pool of long- term unemployed in Australian geoscience.

Almost 70% were not confident of regaining employment within the next 12 months and more than one in 20 indicated that they were turning their backs on their chosen profession due to the dire situation that has surrounded geoscientist employment in Australia for more than two and a half years.

Sentiment amongst geoscientists currently in employment varied.  Some 36% expressed confidence in maintaining their employment for the next 12 months, but 17% were not confident of retaining employment beyond the first quarter of 2016 (Figure 4).

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Figure 4.  Employment sentiment amongst Australian geoscientists

The survey questionnaire was changed for the most recent survey to collect information on employment conditions and how unemployed and under-employed geoscientists were coping with the extended downturn in employment opportunities facing their profession.

Unemployed and under-employed geoscientists were asked how they were coping with their current situation (Figure 5).

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Figure 5.  How Australia’s geoscientists are coping with unemployment and under-employment

Responses in the “Other” category included:

  • establishing new businesses to take advantage of an eventual upturn in Australia’s resource industries;
  • becoming a stay at home parent while their spouse worked;
  • living on superannuation or other savings;
  • reluctantly accepting early retirement;
  • working for free to maintain qualifications and broaden their experience;
  • leaving Australia to pursue opportunities overseas; and,
  • drafting case studies and papers for publication based on their experience.

The employment crisis has also had an impact on the fields in which Australian geoscientists are employed, with mineral exploration feeling the greatest impact (Figure 6).

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Figure 6.  Changes in fields of employment for Australian geoscientists 2014-2015

More than 87% of Australia’s geoscientists currently in employment work as full-time employees. Survey respondents were asked whether their conditions of employment, in terms of salary, associated benefits, hours of work etc., had improved, remained the same or deteriorated since September 2014.  Some 16% of respondents considered their employment conditions to have improved, 59% thought their conditions had remained the same, while the remainder reported that their conditions had deteriorated.  These results are considered encouraging from the point of view that the majority of employers are not seeking to use the difficult conditions facing Australia’s resource industries to reduce working conditions for their staff.

The survey received just over 800 responses, considered to be an excellent result that both provides a statistically robust sample of employment conditions and highlights the commitment of geoscientists to supporting their peers and profession.

AIG President, Mr Wayne Spilsbury, expressed disappointment but no surprise in the latest survey results. “It’s profoundly troubling to see so many highly qualified, experienced, committed professionals unable to apply their skills to contributing to Australia’s economic security,” Mr Spilsbury said.

“The situation in mineral and energy resource exploration is particularly troubling as the prolonged downturn in the sector is damaging Australia’s project development pipeline.

“The low levels of geoscientist employment reflect low levels of exploration activity, which means that we are not making discoveries to maintain Australia’s resource inventory – a scenario which now has the potential to create gaps in critical mineral supplies in coming years,” Mr Spilsbury said.

“Discoveries do not turn into mines overnight. “We’re not exploring now and the industry cannot be switched back on overnight, so we’re facing a real prospect into the latter half of the next decade of reduced development of new projects to support Australia’s economy and standard of living.

“We do applaud the Federal Government`s recent Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) programme, a creative use of tax deductions to stimulate increased investment in mineral exploration in Australia. “However, much of these funds will be spent in the long and non-productive process of securing access to land. “In some states, it can take a year or more once an exploration licence is granted to gain the necessary regulatory approvals to get boots on the ground for the simplest, non-ground-disturbing reconnaissance exploration, ” Mr Spilsbury said.

“Remember, when we talk about a geologist or geophysicist being unemployed in the exploration sector, we’re also talking about three or four other Australians not having an ancillary job. “We also cannot escape the fact that minerals are essential to our daily life, from generation of electricity by any means, to providing raw materials used to ensure our future economic and social well-being.

“Australian geoscientists working in exploration and mining are demonstrably the best in the world when it comes to optimising resource utilisation and ensuring that production proceeds in an environmentally sustainable and responsible manner,” Mr Spilsbury said. “We are renowned innovators whose skills are not being used to the benefit of Australia as a whole. “Look around you, if it wasn’t grown – it must have been mined.”