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Geoscientist jobs

Brisbane-based member, Doug Brewster, has commenced monitoring advertisements for geoscientist roles on to help better understand employment trends affecting our profession.

On 3 August 2020, Western Australia had the greatest number of vacancies (accounting for 24 of 29 exploration and mining geology positions advertised on Seek).

Exploration and mining geoscientist jobs – 3 Aug 2020

Available jobs were split evenly between exploration and mining positions.

By comparison, 87 mining engineer roles were being advertised, with Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales dominating.

Mining engineer jobs – 3 Aug 2020S

Sincere thanks to Doug for compiling this information that will, hopefully, become a regular news feature on the AIG web site.

The Australian Geoscience Council is offering a scholarship to provide financial support of $5000 per annum for a full-time student to finish their undergraduate degree. The scholarship is available to Indigenous
students who have completed at least the first year of their university course and intends majoring in a field of Geoscience.

The scholarship will be managed by the Aurora Education Foundation, a group which specialises in supporting indigenous education.

For those who want more, details of the scholarship are listed on the AGC website –

as well as Aurora’s –

AIG is a member of the Australian Geoscience Council.

The Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) have partnered with the University of Queensland and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on men’s and women’s careers.

The purpose of this research project is to gain a clear understanding of the COVID-19 environment and its potential impact upon women’s ongoing career progression through a shift in the division of domestic labour as well as disparate effects upon women in different working environments.

If you would like to support this important project, we encourage you to participate in the research which involves a ten minute survey.

The survey results will:

  • inform a report outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the ongoing working lives of men and women
  • assist in providing recommendations to organisations and policy suggestions to state and federal government. 

As a member of AGEC, Women & Leadership Australia strongly supports this research and we hope you will take the time to participate.  The greater the number of people participating, the greater will be the impact of the findings, and the harder for the findings to be ignored.

Start Survey

Brisbane, 12th August 2020

Geoscientist employment in Australia improved in the second quarter of 2020.  Nationally, unemployment decreased to 8.6% from 10% in the March quarter, while underemployment also fell to 17.4% from 18.1% for the period.

Geoscientist unemployment and underemployment in Australia June 2009 – June 2020

AIG President, Andrew Waltho, described the improvement as most welcome.  “The level of improvement observed in the survey results was small but defied the increase in unemployment observed in the Australian community as a whole, and the sharp downturn in economic activity affecting Australia’s economy” Mr Waltho said.  “Some caution is needed with the improvement recorded only representing half of the increase observed during the first quarter of this year, but any improvement under the economic conditions prevailing in Australia at the moment is both welcome and encouraging” Mr Waltho said.

“With more than three-quarters of Australia’s geoscientists working in exploration and mining, the results point to the absolute importance of our mineral resource industries in helping to maintain economic activity in Australia, even while in recession” Mr Waltho said.  

“This quarter is also the first time since the 2011 minerals boom that geoscientist unemployment has fallen below the unemployment rate for the Australian economy as a whole, pointing to the success of efforts being made to ensure business continuity and resilience during the pandemic” Mr Waltho said.  

“It is very encouraging to see mining and exploration activity continuing across Australia under very difficult conditions” Mr Waltho said.

Employment impacts varied between states.  Unemployment amongst geoscientists fell in Western Australia, but increased slightly in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, and Victoria.  Underemployment fell in Western Australia, New South Wales and ACT, and Victoria, and remained little changed in Queensland from the previous quarter.

Unemployment and underemployment by state – June 2020

A high proportion of self-employed geoscientists, however, continued to experience difficulty securing more than a quarter of their desired workload.

Long term unemployment remained stubbornly high, with almost 34% of unemployed geoscientists reporting having been out of work for more than 12 months, including 22% who have been out of work for more than two years.  Some 40% of unemployed geoscientists were not confident of returning to work within the next 12 months.

“Long-term unemployment continues to be of serious concern” Mr Waltho said.  

“AIG,  other professional associations and industry groups including CSIRO have responded positively to the challenges posed by the pandemic and the need to suppress the coronavirus through limiting gatherings of people by moving quickly to delivering professional development talks, seminars and short-courses on-line, allowing members to continue to develop their careers from home” Mr Waltho said.  

“These have included many talks and seminars delivered at no cost to participants in an effort to provide members with accessible and valuable professional development opportunities, essential to maintain members’ skills and motivation” Mr Waltho said.  

“In many ways, access to continued professional development opportunities has improved significantly, with events previously available only in particular cities or states accessible nationally, and by members overseas” Mr Waltho said.  

“Professional associations are learning things in response to the pandemic that will become part of the way in which they engage with members on an ongoing basis, to the benefit of all” Mr Waltho said.  

“A recent success has been delivery of structured training on public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves in compliance with the JORC Code which sets out minimum standards for this in Australia and New Zealand and is used as a model in many countries throughout the world”.  

“The short course was originally developed for face to face delivery but has been adapted to become a very successful and effective on-line offering that has attracted attendees from a number of overseas countries and professionals from non-geoscience fields such as banking and finance and investors to whom mineral resources and reserves are relevant to their work and future” Mr Waltho said.  

“It has been both gratifying and encouraging to receive extremely positive feedback from participants that will contribute to continuous improvement of the course”.  

“AIG is always looking at ways of improving benefits of membership to professional geoscientists globally” Mr Waltho said.

An excellent response to the survey was received nationally, with 508 geoscientists completing the survey. Responses from geoscientists in South Australia fell, however, preventing state employment and underemployment results from being reported.

The next survey will be conducted at the end of September.  All contributors, especially AIG members, are thanked for their ongoing support.

Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey results: April 2020

Australian geoscientists reported a deterioration in employment in the first three months of 2020.  Fears, however, that the coronavirus pandemic would have a deep and dramatic impact on employment, have not as yet materialised. 

Unemployment amongst Australia’s geoscientists increased to 10.0% at the end of the March 2020 quarter compared to 7.3% at the end of the 2019 December quarter. Under-employment amongst self-employed geoscientists increased from 13.1% to 18.1% for the same period.

Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment in Australia June 2009-March 2020

“Widespread speculation that the coronavirus pandemic would have a rapid and dramatic impact on geoscientist employment across Australia, where more than 70% of geoscientists work in mineral and energy resource exploration, mining and production, isn’t borne out by the latest survey results,” Australian Institute of Geoscientists’ President, Mr Andrew Waltho, said today.  

“The first quarter of each year is frequently marked by an upturn in unemployment, with exploration fieldwork in particular reduced following the summer holidays and northern Australian wet season,” Mr Waltho said. “We have not to date seen anything like the dramatic downturn in employment associated with the global financial crisis in 2009,” he said.  

“It is a welcoming sign to see that many employers, so far, have been able to retain geoscientist staff, demonstrating a commitment to both their people and business resilience, especially when the proportion of geoscientists employed by small to medium sized companies is considered.

“Geoscientists, however, haven’t escaped entirely unscathed. Self-employed geoscientists working as consultants and contractors are experiencing a downturn in their ability to secure work greater than is normally evident at this time of year, which we should expect to be reflected in exploration and mineral resource production,” Mr Waltho said.  

The decline in employment nationally was not even.

Unemployment amongst geoscientists increased in every state except Queensland where unemployment was little changed between December 2019 and March 2020.  Unemployment in Western Australia increased by 1.6%.  The greatest increases  were recorded in Victoria (11.1%) and South Australia (13.8%).  

State. by state unemployment and under-employment rates Q1 2020

Under-employment amongst self-employed geoscientists increased significantly in all states except Queensland, where again, little change was observed in the quarter. 

The contributions of mineral resource exploration, mining and energy resource exploration and production vary markedly between states.

Long-term unemployment remains the darkest aspect of the survey results with almost 29% of survey respondents reporting that they have been out of work for more than 12 months.  Six percent of respondents were looking to pursue careers beyond geosciences on a long-term basis. A further 12% were seeking work to help them deal with current employment conditions affecting geosciences in Australia.  

Continued professional development by geoscientists is strongly encouraged, with provision of accessible professional development resources a major focus of professional institutes, including AIG. More than one quarter of unemployed geoscientists reported that they were working to improve their qualifications and skills through formal study while unable to secure work.

Sources of employment for geoscientists by state

“In one sense, the survey results are re-assuring in the initial impact on employment of the coronavirus being more muted than many geoscience professionals feared,” Mr Waltho said.

“The potential for more severe impacts on employment remain.

“The situation, however, has some way to run and AIG will now be looking to the June survey to demonstrate how Australia’s minerals and energy exploration and mining industry is coping with the impacts of the pandemic.  

“The need to move to a new way of working is affecting everyone in Australia to some extent.

“The AIG’s priority is to continue to deliver professional development and networking opportunities to members using on-line delivery of seminars, and short courses allowing exchange of information between members,” Mr Waltho said.  

“Some of these new ways of working may well outlive the impacts of the pandemic, but ultimately geoscientists, particularly those working in exploration, need safe and effective access to land to deliver results. Returning to a safe and effective means of accessing land will be essential going forward,” he said.

The next survey will open for contributions at the end of June 2020.