Findings from the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) research released today revealed a substantial increase in unemployment amongst Australian resource industry professionals including geoscientists and engineers from 1.7% to almost 11% in just 12 months.
According to the study, nearly 60% of the 13,500 institute members surveyed believed that there will be fewer professional jobs available in a year’s time.
Key takeaways of the study on Macro Business showed that July 2012 saw 2.9% of employed minerals professionals to be under-employed. By July 2013, many of those professionals who wanted more hours of work found themselves unemployed.
Among those still working, there was a threefold increase in reported under-employment, with a 9.1% rate of under-employment.
Australian mining giants have been cutting staff and delaying new operations as a decade-long boom in prices peaks.
Several years of focus on increasing the pool of skilled workers in both Australian and New Zealand mining sectors also created many unemployed highly skilled professionals.
New Zealand professionals fared slightly better than their Australian counterparts, reporting unemployment in the New Zealand minerals industry at 8.7 %.
On BusinessWeek, AusIMM president Geoff Sharrock said the research confirms strong subjective evidence of considerable disruption within the professional ranks of the minerals sector.
According to Mr. Sharrock, a downturn in mining industry investment and operations usually impacts exploration geologists first before mining and metallurgical engineers however the recent research shows that impacts are “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.
The survey findings compares with Australia’s unemployment rate of 5.8% in August, the highest since 2009.