Geologist and geophysicist employment in Australia

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > News > Geologist and geophysicist employment in Australia

The Commonwealth Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business (DESSFB) have released their review of geologist and geophysicist employment in Australia for 2019.

The department’s survey revealed recruitment difficulty for geophysicists and underground mine geologists, in a generally tightening employment market.

The DESSFB survey concluded:

  • The number of applicants and suitable applicants per vacancy have decreased substantially in the last year, while the proportion of vacancies filled has decreased slightly.
  • Importantly, there were significant differences in recruitment experiences across specialisations.
  • The relative availability of exploration geologists is broadly consistent with results from the 2018 survey.
    • In 2018, all surveyed vacancies for exploration geologists were filled, and employers received many suitable applicants per vacancy (12.2 on average). 
    • Half of the non-exploration geologist positions were filled.
  • Many employers noted that underground geologist positions were particularly challenging to fill due to the difficult working conditions of these roles.
  • Around a quarter of employers had no suitable applicants, compared with less than 10 per cent in 2018.
  • Applicants were often considered unsuitable if they did not meet requirements such as:
    • experience in a particular commodity or mine type, such as gold or coal, underground or open pit
    • competency using particular software or the ability to undertake data modelling and/or analysis
    • length of experience, or senior experience.
  • A number of applicants were rejected or not considered because the employer thought they were overqualified.

Demand and Supply

  • The demand for geologists and geophysicists is strong, while entry of new graduates to the market is declining. 
  • In the year to February 2019, internet vacancies for geologists and geophysicists increased by 31.9 per cent, well above the average for all occupations.
  • Employment for these occupations is projected to grow by 21.6 per cent in the five years to May 2023. 
  • Bachelor degree completions for geology and geophysics declined in the two years to 2017.
  • The majority of workers in these occupations are employed in the mining industry. 

The release of the DESSFB survey findings coincides with the latest quarterly AIG Australian geoscientist employment survey being open for contributions. The declining trend in geoscientist unemployment evident in the AIG survey results is considered consistent with the tightening of the skills market identified by DESSFB. Long-term unemployment remains a feature of the AIG surveys. This could be consistent with the high number of applicants per job identified by DESSFB.

The DESSFB, importantly, notes that exploration and mining are the dominant source of geoscientist employment opportunities in Australia.

What do these results mean for you? Have your say by leaving a comment here or via the AIG Linkedin group. You can also contribute to the latest AIG geoscientist employment survey by following this link before 26 October 2019.