The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) has today released research showing that unemployment amongst professionals in the Australian minerals industry (including geoscientists and engineers) has increased from less than 2% to almost 11% in just 12 months.
The survey, which was conducted across the Institute’s 13 500 members, showed:
1) Unemployment among Australian minerals professionals increased from 1.7 per cent in July 2012 to 10.9 per cent in July 2013.
2) In July 2012, only 2.9 per cent of employed minerals professionals reported that they wanted to work more hours (the ‘under-employed’). By July 2013, many of those professionals found themselves unemployed. Among those still working, there was a threefold increase in reported under-employment, with a 9.1 per cent rate of under-employment.
3) Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed believed that there will be fewer professional jobs available in a year’s time.
4) The survey shows some significant regional variations, with New Zealand professionals faring slightly better than their Australian counterparts, reporting an 8.7 per cent rate of unemployment in the New Zealand minerals industry (see next chart).
5) After many years of focus on the need to increase the pool of skilled professionals in the Australian and New Zealand mining sectors, there are now many highly skilled professionals who are unemployed (or working fewer hours than they want to work).
AusIMM President Geoff Sharrock said The AusIMM’s research confirmed strong anecdotal evidence of considerable pain and disruption within the professional ranks of the minerals sector.
‘Traditionally, a downturn in mining industry investment and operations impacts first on exploration geologists and then other professionals, including mining and metallurgical engineers,’ Mr Sharrock said. This research shows that the impacts this time have been sudden and have bitten deeply into the professional employees who are central to finding, developing and running the mining operations that underpin our economy.’
AusIMM CEO Michael Catchpole said the increases in unemployment and under-employment are being felt right across the mining sector and are affecting people working for the major mining companies as well as those involved in exploration and consultancy work.
And to think the unwind in mining-related capital expenditure has barely begun: