Employment opportunities for Australia’s geoscientists are continuing to slowly improve despite an increase in unemployment during the June quarter.
The second quarter of this year saw a rise from 7.5 per cent at the end of March to 9.3 per cent at the end of June, according to the Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey.
This, however, was offset by underemployment among self-employed geoscientists falling from 20.5 per cent to 14.9 per cent for the same period.
The underemployment figure represents the proportion of self-employed geoscientists unable to secure more than one quarter of their desired workload.
The survey was completed by 734 respondents nationally, with 66 per cent of those having worked or sought work in mineral exploration.
A further 18 per cent worked in metalliferous mining, while five per cent of respondents worked or sought work in energy resource exploration and production.
Half of Australia’s geoscientists who are currently unemployed have been without work for more than 12 months, a similar proportion sees little prospect of regaining employment in their field in the year ahead.
The survey also highlighted almost one in 10 unemployed geoscientists are looking to leave the profession, seeking more stable employment.
“The depressed employment prospects for geoscientists are a surprise given mineral exploration expenditure rose during the June quarter according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week although mineral exploration drilling declined,” Australian Institute of Geoscientists president Andrew Waltho said.
“There is little doubt that junior exploration and mining companies especially are experiencing difficulty raising capital to fund new exploration and producers are having to deal with considerable uncertainty and price volatility, at least partly due to trade tensions between the USA and China”
The lowest levels of both unemployment and under-employment were recorded in Western Australia, where unemployment among professional geoscientists fell from 8.5 per cent at the end of Match to 7.8 per cent at the end of June.
Victoria recorded the largest fall in the unemployment rate from 11.8 per cent at the end of March to 5.9 per cent in June.
Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia all recorded increases in both unemployment and under-employment.