Times are tough in the industry and everybody from large international miners to junior explorers are feeling the downturn.
The Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) have carried out annual surveys since 2009 to gauge geoscientist unemployment in Australia. Results released by the AIG in March 2014 give geoscientist unemployment and underemployment figures as of December 2013, and results are staggering.
18.2% of Australia’s geoscientists were unemployed*
In addition 14.8% of Australia’s geoscientists were underemployed*
Below we present a series of tips and pointers to unemployed or underemployed Junior Geologists who may be encountering their first mining bust.
Become a member (or renew your membership) of professional organisations such as The Australian Institute of Geoscientists and AusIMM.
They provide your best networking opportunities and contacts with industry professionals through multiple events organised by the organisation or through collaboration with another body.
Read publications free of charge, including online technical publications, news bulletins, handbooks, journals, conference papers and many more.
JORC Competent Person Accreditation. To ‘sign-off’ on any public reporting of exploration results, resources or reserves you need to be a Competent Person. JORC Code’s definition of a Competent Person includes, amongst other things, being a Member or Fellow AusIMM or the AIG.
The Price of joining professional organisations is generally very reasonable, with AusIMM and the AIG both offering assistance for existing members experiencing unemployment or hardship.
You also get discounted fees for certain events, speaking of which…
MEGWA (Mining and Exploration Group of Western Australia) is an informal, topical seminar series held on the third Wednesday of each month in Perth, which is FREE to attend.
CET (Centre for Exploration Targeting) Seminar Series are held fortnightly, and are also FREE to attend.
Geoscientists Symposia works with SJS and the AIG to provide training courses and symposia across a wide range of themes. Some events are HALF PRICE for students and unemployed.
Geoconferences is a non-profit association that arrange conferences, symposia and other meetings. TeamWA Workshops is a subcommittee of Geoconferences which organises workshops (usually half a day) and held twice a year where possible.
The AIG regularly hold social events, conferences and lectures.
GSA (Geological Society of Australia) regularly holds events and meetings for each of the divisions.
It is also worth regularly checking CSIRO, AusIMM, and ASEG for relevant events.
There’s nothing wrong with applying to positions online through websites such as Seek and Hays, but this shouldn’t be the only approach to seeking employment.
Try printing a bunch of CV’s and heading directly to offices of prospective employers (mining companies, exploration companies, consultants etc.). This way you’re getting your face out there and making new connections, even if there aren’t any current vacancies. Once an opportunity eventually arises, having made direct contact with a company may have placed you ahead of other candidates.
Remember, you may get lucky and be at the right place at the right time!
There are many ways to up-skill without throwing too much money around, some of which are presented here.
GEOVIA (offering the industry SurpacTM and GEMSTM, amongst others) created the GEOVIA Education Initiative in 2009, which included offering Surpac Foundation training.
Micromine offer heavily reduced rates for Introduction Courses for students and geologists who are presently unemployed.
It is worth checking with industry-standard software companies to find-out if they offer courses in your area for unemployed or underemployed geologists.
If you have contacts and/or friends in the industry, speak to them about offering informal training on software.
Bills will always need to be paid, so it is understandable that in the current economic climate unemployed geologists will need to obtain gainful employment in other areas. However, by continuing to attend events, network, up-skill and improve your CV, you make sure you are in it to win it.
Whilst out of work there is no harm in applying for as many jobs as possible. We all know that practice makes perfect, and this applies to job applications and interviews too.
Stay fit and use your free time productively. Take up exercise, be it competition sport, swimming, cycling or walking. Opportunities can manifest themselves in many ways. We’ve met geologists playing five-a-side football, through a local sailing club and especially in bars around Perth. Making casual contacts through shared interests is an excellent way of getting your name out there and potentially a foot in the door.
*Australian Institute of Geoscientists, 2014. Australian Geoscientist Unemployment Soars. [Online]
Available at: http://www.aig.org.au/tag/unemployment/