Geoscientist unemployment rates maintain steady rate

Unemployment rates have steadied for Australian geoscientists, according to a survey by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG).

The survey revealed 7.4 per cent of geoscientists were unemployed in Australia during the fourth quarter of 2019, which marked a marginal increase from the 7.3 per cent unemployment rate in the third quarter.

New South Wales saw a significant drop in geoscientist unemployment, with rates plummeting from 7.9 per cent in September to 2.8 per cent in December.

While geoscientist unemployment is dropping, the survey found that improvements will take time.

“The unemployment rate amongst geoscientists in Australia remains on a downward trend,” Australian Institute of Geoscientists president Andrew Waltho said.

“Any improvement in employment opportunities for professional geoscientists in Australia is welcome news.”

Job diversity among geoscientists is believed to have stabilised the unemployment rate.

The survey found popular job sectors for geoscientists are dependent on the state they work in.

Mineral exploration and mining have employed the highest number of geoscientists in Western Australia and Victoria, while Queensland’s geoscientist jobs mainly stem from energy resource exploration and production.

“Australia’s professional institutes and societies continue to provide a wide range of accessible, professional development opportunities for members, enabling unemployed members to maintain their qualifications and professional networks to help ensure that they remain ‘work-ready’,” Waltho said.

New fields are emerging for geoscientists, including environmental and engineering geology according to the survey.

As geoscientist unemployment rates gradually drop, long-term unemployment still poses an issue.

An estimated 43 per cent of unemployed respondents reported being out of work for more than 12 months, the survey found.

“Long-term unemployment amongst geoscientists remains a major problem, with more than one third of those currently without work having been unemployed for more than two years,” Waltho said.

“Australia’s professional institutes and societies continue to provide a wide range of accessible, professional development opportunities for members, enabling unemployed members to maintain their qualifications and professional networks to help ensure that they remain ‘work-ready.”

The 395 responses the survey received represent one in 20 Australian geoscientists.

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