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Part Three of a Three Part Series What the industry wants: Results from the AIG National Graduate Group Geoscience Survey

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Early Career Geoscience > Part Three of a Three Part Series What the industry wants: Results from the AIG National Graduate Group Geoscience Survey


Well it’s our last part of the series and this one might be a case of awful tasting medicine. We’ve spoken about the thrills of geoscience (part one) and what skills will lead you to a thrilling career (part two). Now we need to talk about the areas where graduates need improvement. Let’s just keep in mind that constructive feedback is a good thing. Without it we can’t learn and improve, which is what this is all about. We’ll conclude with a recap on everything we’ve covered and what to take away from the results of the survey.

One of our questions asked “What issues/traits do you think are common in recent students and graduates that should be addressed?”. The responses were very specific and most highlighted three common concerns. (Fig. 1)


I mentioned the awful tasting medicine, right? The respondents didn’t mess around and got straight to the point. One said that some graduates want it all now and aren’t prepared to work hard for it. Another said that some need to accept that they are starting at the bottom and need to learn the skills required before they manage programs.

So, you’re a graduate and you’ve just finished your degree. Ah! Time to sit back and relax. You’ve just learnt pretty much everything you’ll need to work as a geologist…Well I doubt that I have to point out that this is never the case. There’d be some bored geos out there if this were true. The fact is that completing your degree is a big accomplishment and you should be proud of it. It is the beginning of a fantastic journey and along the way you’ll learn all kinds of things. The path will shift and change, you’ll probably venture into different facets of geoscience, each with their own unique challenges which will require you to draw on everything you’ve learnt so far and to keep learning.

Those last few points are fairly important. Imagine you’re managing a team of geos and during your career you’ve barely been out in the field to hone your core skills. Limited time on drill rigs or out mapping. Do you think that would arm you with enough skill and perspective, that you could lead your team towards meeting their goals and targets? The beginnings of our career journey give us the tools we need for our future and to help us figure out what we love. If we stifle that by thinking we already know it all or by staying inside our comfort zone, we won’t learn and grow. Bill Nye once said “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” and that’s true for everyone. Being closed to new ideas and the learnings of those who are well and truly on their own journey, only limits our own potential.

Speaking of learning, I’ll wrap this up with a summary of the results from this survey (Fig. 2).



  • Build your professional network early in your career. You could meet your future employer, colleague, employee and/or business partner.



  • Be easy to manage and a valuable asset. A pain in the neck is no fun for anyone.
  • Work hard, aim high, respect your fellow geos and build a strong positive reputation.
  • Prepare for the cyclicity of the profession.



  • Put your knowledge into action and embrace the adventure of geology. Mines are found on the ground, not at desks.


CPD (Continued Professional Development)

  • Learn, learn, learn! From anyone & anything. Diversify and build your skill set. Add to your arsenal for making decisions.


In 4 words: Meet, learn, work and experience. All of these lessons were reflected in the responses to our final question, “Would you like to share any further ideas or comments?” (Fig. 3)


Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who has shared their thoughts and wisdom both
during this survey and in person. Your individual and combined lessons are worth more than any resource.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.



Josh Leigh
Former National Graduate Committee Chairman



PDF Download the above article as a PDF.

This article was published in the AIG News 126: December 2016. Click here to download and read the full publication.

Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

Click here to read Part 2 of this series.