Australia’s geoscientists benefited from a sharp increase in employment opportunities in the final quarter of 2020, according to new survey results.
The greatest improvement was evident in Western Australia, where unemployment fell from 8 per cent to 2.6 per cent, while in Queensland the unemployment rate fell from 9.4 er cent to 5.3 per cent, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists survey showed.
Overall, unemployment amongst professional geologists, geophysicists and allied earth scientists had recommenced a downward trend after improvement in employment prospects stalled throughout the previous three quarters of the year, the AIG said.
“It’s great to see job prospects for Australian geoscientists ending what had been a tentative 2020, on such a positive note,” AIG president Andrew Waltho said.
Nationally, between the beginning of October and end of December 2020, geoscientist unemployment fell sharply from 10.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent.
This was the fourth-lowest rate recorded since the survey series commenced in June 2009 and the lowest rate recorded since June 2012, at the height of the resources boom.
Under-employment amongst self-employed geoscientists also fell in the final quarter of 2020, from 12.7 per cent to 9.3 per cent.
“The employment improvement appears to be largely due to increased mineral exploration,” Mr Waltho said.
“I would expect that the Australian exploration expenditure statistics for the quarter will reveal increased exploration activity, especially in Western Australia and Queensland, when they are released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“Strong metals prices appear to be driving renewed investment in resource discovery, especially in commodities like gold, copper, nickel and other battery materials, even lithium where 2020 was not a good year for producers and investors.”
Improved confidence was evident amongst unemployed respondents, with almost half of the unemployed and under-employed respondents feeling confident of returning to work within six months, the AIG said.
Long-term unemployment, however, remains a concern with almost half of the unemployed respondents reporting having been without work for more than 12 months.