Geoscientist under-employment falls amid pandemic

Continued activity in Australia’s exploration sector has helped keep geoscientist employment relatively stable during the September quarter.

Under-employment, which is a measure of geoscientists not being able to secure more than 25 per cent of their desired workload, fell by almost 5 per cent for the period.

The largest decreases were recorded in Western Australia (6.7 per cent) and New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory (4.4 per cent).

Further, there was a 6 per cent increase in the proportion of self-employed geoscientists during the September period.

The positive news came as national geoscientist unemployment jumped by 2 per cent on the previous quarter, despite an improvement in New South Wales / ACT.

“The increase in unemployment is concerning, despite being recorded at a time of economic difficulties through the Australian economy being in recession due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” Australian Institute of Geoscientists president Andrew Waltho said.

“The trend in survey results over the past year now points to the flattening of what was a decreasing trend in unemployment.”

Waltho said companies had been making an effort to continue their operations and maintain continuity under difficult business conditions, but needed to address the lack of gender diversity, ageing workforce and misconception of innovation in the geoscientist profession.

Nearly 40 per cent of survey respondents were geoscientists with more than 30 years’ experience since graduation, and only 16 per cent of all respondents were women.

Long-term unemployment remained stubbornly high, with almost 34 per cent of unemployed geoscientists being out of work for more than 12 months, including 20 per cent that had been unemployed for more than two years.

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