More than one-third of geoscientists (35.1%) are unemployed or underemployed following a crash in exploration, particularly in the mineral exploration sector.
AIG said its employment data shows how severely the prolonged downturn in employment prospects for geoscientists is starting to bite and is contributing to serious erosion of Australia’s geoscience capabilities.
At the end of June the unemployment rate among professional geoscientists in Australia was 15.2%, down marginally on the 15.5% recorded at the end of December 2015.
Undermployment was up 3% to 19.9%.
Of the geoscientists describing themselves as being self-employed in the survey, more than 36% were unable to secure more than 10% of their desired workload, pointing to an actual unemployment rate of 22.6%, an increase of 1.2% in the six months since December 2014.
The outcome of these results is the worst recorded, with the previous peak of 31.3% recorded during the global financial crisis in September 2009.
No state is considered to have fared better than any other in respect of geoscientist employment, with combined unemployment and underemployment rates of about 30% or more across the country.
Among unemployed and underemployed respondents 17% lost employment in the three months between April and July, 35% reported being unemployed for 12 months or more and 63% of unemployed and underemployed geoscientists saw little prospect of regaining employment within the coming 12 months.
The proportion of geoscientists considering leaving the profession permanently almost doubled to 4.5% – the highest level recorded in this series of surveys.