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Chemists (scientists) in WA


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Hi there, I'm new to the forum. I've received WA sponsored PR as a chemist. I would like to make the move to Perth in the next year or so. I was wondering if anyone here knows what the job market for scientists and of course chemists are like in WA? I'm a bit nervous as it seems as though the economy in WA is bit low if I read the current posts.

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Hey Nix

This is going to be a tough one. The whole of science in Australia is in a bit of a dip at the moment, pretty much like the whole of Australia with the China slow down. What is a bit of an extra kick in the teeth for science is the government's pulling of massive amounts of funding from research. At the moment everyone is sitting tight trying to weather the storm.

My advice to you is, however, get your butt over here. Even at the worst, the job market for chemists are many times bigger than South Africa. I still get notifications for science jobs every day and not a day goes by without a job somewhere, while in South Africa you would see one or two a month.

Just remember that even though you were given PR as a chemist, you do not have to work as a chemist, you just have to work in WA for two years. So come over, do whatever it takes to survive, until you get that first break.

Are you a post-grad chemist i.e. research chemist or just a general B.Sc. chemist, because that will also influence my advice. If you have just a degree, your chances of finding a job is higher in industry, while if you have post-grad qualifications you might want to go and hammer on peoples office doors at the unis and introduce yourself. Australia is very much a who you know country and it's tough if nobody knows you exist.

Anyway, let me know if you want to know something specific or just more in general.


P.S. I'm doing a post-doc/research associate at UniSA in Adelaide.

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:offtopic: Sorry, I just had to add this: On this forum it's rather important to add "in Adelaide" after UniSA. Well spotted ;)

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Hi Erik, thank you for your reply, any info at this stage is grealty appreciated. I have a PhD in inorganic chemistry and I have 5 years working experience in R&D in the gas and energy industry. I think my main issue is that I'm not exactly sure where my work experience would fit in, since I couldn't really publish much since I worked on IP sensitive projects. Also, am I too overqualified for the industry in the Perth area? I defintely have no issue doing other jobs while searching for something more in my field.

I'll be in Perth for a few weeks in March next year, the plan is to then make the big move end of 2016. Do you think it's worth going to recruit agencies, unis and other chemical industries in the area during my March visit?

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I'll give you a bit of background to give you an idea.

I got my PR as chemist in 2012, activated the visa, had a baby in SA and then said: Right! We want to go, we have the visa, close our eyes and jump!" We set a a date for October 2013, to go to Melbourne with or without a job. In June I started applying for jobs, mostly lab type work. Analytical, QC, etc., whatever came up. Result - nada, zilts, nothing. Not even a thank you, but no thank you note. Whether this was because I was applying from SA or whether I'm overqualified is still unclear to me. From subsequent conversations I've had, I'm leaning towards the latter.

I also applied for the odd one or two post-doc jobs (or rather research associate as they call it here). The idea was to try and get a post-doc, come over do the year or two, settle in, check out the landscape and then move back into industry (I used to work at Mintek, we did inorganic drug discovery). I had a phone interview 28 Jul 2013, had an offer the next day, quit and was on an airplane 3 Sep to Adelaide. The only thing is it was in microfluidics, which I knew nothing about. You will be amazed at how fast you can learn something if you have to. The point is I got a one year contract on an industry project, it was extended for another year and just the other day for another 2 years. I however have no aspirations of becoming a Prof so this is pretty much a dead end for me.

In all this time I still get my notifications for jobs in the science field and I can tell you, as a PhD I'm overqualified for most of them and there is fierce competitions for the ones I am qualified for. The research jobs are far and few apart, but most of all, it's who you know. If you can knock on doors and get to know people, they are usually very happy to help where they can. Now if you're an introvert like me, this is probably the scariest advice to hear, and I'm still trying to practice what I preach, but so far things have worked out pretty well.

I would definitely try and get some face time with people if I were you, you never know where it may lead. Set a date to come, start applying for jobs and be ready to change your plans, is what I'm trying to say.

Sorry for the ramble. Hope something helps.

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Thank you for sharing, it gives me some perspective on the whole situation. I'll defintely follow your advice and chat to as many peopleas possible. I'm even considering doing a diploma in education once in Australia to enable me to teach on secondary level.

Good luck to you also for finding something in industry soon.

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Perhaps a few pointers that may help but will require lots of homework

Look for similar companies to this: http://www.imdexlimited.com/imdex-group.html

While mostly in geochemistry it may be a good starting point. Ask them to point you in the right direction and people to speak to.

ProjectConnect is an online service designed to list project opportunities and to connect Australian businesses together to find industry suppliers or identify new business opportunities.

Here is a directory which may help: http://www.projectconnect.com.au/index.asp

The REPS Directory has been published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia for 30 year


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  • 8 years later...

Hello Erik and Nix. I would like to connect with you as i will definately need your help. I also have a PhD in chemistry and I am planning to take a plunge next year to Australia. I would need to have advice on securing a job.

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