03/08/2016 - 15:54

Slight uptick for geoscientists

03/08/2016 - 15:54

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The employment market for geoscientists improved in the three months to June, in a sign that the resources industry might have reached the bottom in this cycle, although more than a third are still getting less than their desired amount of work.

Slight uptick for geoscientists
Geoscientists are focused on sizing up deposits for resources companies.

The employment market for geoscientists improved in the three months to June, in a sign that the resources industry might have reached the bottom in this cycle, although more than a third are still getting less than their desired amount of work.

It was the first time the unemployment numbers, or underemployment numbers, had improved in a quarter since September 2014, according to the Australian Institute of Geoscientists.

Nearly 16 per cent of geoscientists were unemployed, while 20 per cent were underemployed, meaning they worked less than they would want.

While marginally higher than the same time last year, it was an improvement on March, with 19.5 per cent unemployment and 23.4 per cent underemployment.

Western Australia was in the middle of the pack of states, with unemployment about 16 per cent and underemployment about 17 per cent.

There was some bad news though, with 60 per cent of those out of work now having been in that situation more than 12 months.

An even larger number, 70 per cent, of those underemployed and unemployed did not think they’d regain employment in the year ahead.

Those that were employed were much more likely to work for a junior miner, contractor or exploration company, at nearly half, while less than a fifth worked for major miners, the institute said.

Institute president Mike Erceg said the improvement was welcome news, yet the trend would need to extend more than a single quarter to suggest there had been a turnaround.

“The improvements evident in the latest survey confirm the anecdotal evidence of a very modest increase in exploration activity which seemed to gather momentum during the second quarter of this year,” he said.

“The improvement, however, brought a sharp increase in the proportion of long-term unemployed geoscientists which is of real concern to the Institute which has been doing whatever it can to help members maintain and improve their skills and employment prospects.”

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