Geoscientist unemployment rate drops below 10 per cent

The employment rate for geoscientists across Australia has improved during the second quarter of this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The national unemployment rate for geoscientists decreased to 8.6 per cent, compared with 10 per cent in the March quarter, while underemployment also fell to 17.4 per cent from 18.1 per cent.

Employment impacts varied between states, with Western Australia seeing a fall in geoscientists’ unemployment to 8 per cent, but it increased in Queensland (8 per cent), New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (11 per cent) and Victoria (22 per cent).

Underemployment also fell to 22 per cent in Western Australia, as well as New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (23 per cent) and Victoria (22 per cent), while in Queensland it remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 20 per cent.

Long-term unemployment remained stubbornly high, with 34 per cent of unemployed geoscientists reporting that they have been out of work for more than 12 months, including 22 per cent who have been out of work for more than two years.

Some 40 per cent of unemployed geoscientists were not confident of returning to work within the next year.

The Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) president Andrew Waltho said more than three quarters of Australia’s geoscientists worked in the mining and mining exploration sector.

Waltho said that this underlined the importance of the mining industry as it helped to maintain economic activity in Australia during the recession.

“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,” he 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, pointing to the success of efforts being made to ensure business continuity and resilience during the pandemic.

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

These results were gathered in an AIG survey, which involved 508 geoscientists from Australia.

AIG will run its next employment survey at the end of September.

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