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Sunday, 18 September 2011

quantity surveyor

A quantity surveyor manages all costs relating to building and civil engineering projects, from the initial calculations to the final figures. Surveyors seek to minimise the costs of a project and enhance value for money, while still achieving the required standards and quality. Many of these are specified by statutory building regulations, which the surveyor needs to understand and adhere to.
A quantity surveyor may work for either the client or the contractor, working in an office or on-site. They are involved in a project from the start, preparing estimates and costs of the work. When the project is in progress, quantity surveyors
The title of the job may also be referred to as a construction cost consultant or commercial manager.

Typical work activities

Typical tasks may include:
  • preparing tender and contract documents, including bills of quantities with the architect and/or the client;
  • undertaking costs analysis for repair and maintenance project work;
  • assisting in establishing a client’s requirements and undertaking feasibility studies;
  • performing risk and value management and cost control;
  • advising on procurement strategy;
  • identifying, analysing and developing responses to commercial risks;
  • preparing and analysing costings for tenders;
  • allocating work to subcontractors;
  • providing advice on contractual claims;
  • analysing outcomes and writing detailed progress reports;
  • valuing completed work and arranging payments;
  • maintaining awareness of the different building contracts in current use;
  • understanding the implications of health and safety regulations.
Areas requiring more specialised knowledge include:
  • offering advice on property taxation;
  • providing post-occupancy advice, facilities management services and life cycle costing advice;
  • assisting clients in locating and accessing additional and alternative sources of funds;
  • enabling clients to initiate construction projects;
  • advising on the maintenance costs of specific buildings.
  • Range of typical starting salaries: £17,000 - £25,000. Obtaining chartered status increases both your job and salary options.
  • Range of typical salaries at senior level may be £35,000 - £50,000+. Principal partners in private practice may earn substantially more.
  • Shift and site allowances are often paid on top of the basic salary. Company packages may include a car, pension and healthcare.
  • Salary increases reflect the gaining of qualifications and responsibilities undertaken. 
  • Local government salaries are comparable and may include final salary pension schemes. A company car is not usually offered but car mileage for site visits may be available.
  • Working hours vary. A contractor on site may work 7.30am - 6:00pm, while in private practice (PQS) or in a local government department, hours are usually 8.30am - 5.30pm. Occasional weekend work may be required.
  • The work is generally office-based, although offices can be on construction sites, If not, day-long site visits may involve early starts and late finishes or an overnight stay. Secondment to sites for longer periods of time is also possible.
  • Quantity surveying is a male-dominated profession, but the number of female recruits is significant and growing in both private practice and the public sector.
  • Self-employment/freelance work is frequently possible. Companies are increasingly making use of freelance or agency workers to compete for contracts and offer faster turn-around times for completion.
  • Opportunities for overseas posts and for occasional overseas work or travel are available. This varies according to the type of employer and the location of the site and the client.
The most straightforward route into quantity surveying is with a first degree in quantity surveying, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)  and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) , will improve your chances.
It is also possible to gain a relevant postgraduate conversion degree after studying another subject. Useful first degree subjects include:
  • geography;
  • mathematics;
  • economics;
  • urban and land studies;
  • building or construction;
  • civil or structural engineering.
HND/HNC Diplomates may register as technical surveyors but many opt to top-up their qualification. This may be done by following an RICS-recognised distance-learning course or part-time/day-release route towards a degree.
Entry without a degree or HND is sometimes possible by working your way up through the industry. Some employers may be willing to fund part-time degree top-up courses, while others may prefer graduates. Those with non-relevant degrees need to take an RICS-recognised postgraduate conversion course.
Further study is essential in order to gain professional qualifications and membership of RICS. Relevant work experience, either on site or within an office, gives you a valuable start.
Candidates also need to show evidence of the following:
  • practical and logical qualities and a methodical way of thinking;
  • a creative and innovative approach to problem-solving;
  • strong numeracy and financial management skills and the ability to learn sophisticated design and costing IT packages;
  • the ability to write clear and precise reports and to relate complex information simply to a diverse range of people;
  • negotiating and team-working skills and the ability to motivate and lead those on site;
  • detailed knowledge of past and current building and construction technology, business and legal matters.
A work experience placement gives you an understanding of the construction industry as a whole and also what skills are required in this environment.
Many large, private practice firms have an annual intake of graduates and may have closing dates in December or January. Others, including smaller employers, may accept speculative applications

market researcher

Market researchers collect and analyse information on behalf of organisations such as businesses, governments and charities. They are sometimes employed directly by that organisation, but more often work for specialist research agencies. They analyse consumer opinions and collect data to enable organisations to make informed political, social and economic decisions.
Market researchers usually specialise in one sector, such as consumer or social research. They plan and implement research projects, and assess the results.
Quantitative research focuses on gathering and analysing statistical data for example using questionnaires, and increasingly via electronic data collection. Qualitative research focuses on people's attitudes and motivation, using methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Typical work activities

A minority of market researchers (also known as research executives) are involved in both quantitative and qualitative research. However, it is more usual for researchers to specialise in one methodology. Most market research positions are within specialist research agencies.
Some market researchers are employed in-house by large organisations - this is known as working client-side. Usually researchers employed in this way will be part of a team of only three or four others. The type of employing organisation, and the type of research, will greatly impact the day to day work undertaken.
Typical work activities will vary according to the employer and the nature of the role. These may include:
  • meeting with clients to negotiate and agree research projects;
  • liaising with clients via face to face meetings, email and the telephone; 
  • researching a topic; 
  • preparing briefs and commissioning research;
  • formulating a plan/proposal and presenting it to the client or senior management;
  • writing and managing the distribution of surveys and questionnaires; 
  • briefing interviewers and researchers;
  • liaising with and managing survey staff;
  • moderating focus groups;
  • undertaking ethnographic research (observing people in their homes and other environments);
  • conducting qualitative or quantitative surveys, which may involve field, interview or focus group assessments;
  • using statistical software to manage and organise information;
  • monitoring the progress of research projects;
  • analysing and interpreting data to identify patterns and solutions, including surveys and focus group transcripts;
  • writing detailed reports and presenting results;
  • advising clients/senior management on how to best use research findings 

  • Range of typical starting salaries: £18,000 - £25,000.
  • Range of typical salaries with three to five years' experience: £32,000 - £38,000. 
  • Range of typical salaries with significant experience: £45,000 - £100,000. It is worth noting that moving to self-employment is a popular career progression route and these figures represent only paid positions.
  • Some larger firms may offer additional benefits, such as a company car, profit-sharing schemes, medical insurance, gym membership and bonuses.
  • Working hours for in-house and researchers who use quantitative methods are generally nine to five, with occasional evening/weekend work required to meet project deadlines. In jobs that involve qualitative work, evening and weekend work is a common part of the role.
  • Although hours may be irregular, paid overtime is rare, but some organisations will offer time off in lieu.
  • In some organisations the work is mostly desk-based, though this depends on the specific role. Many market researchers travel nationally and occasionally internationally, to visit client organisations.
  • In some cases, more experienced marketing researchers may be expected to travel nationally and even internationally in order to undertake qualitative research.
  • Self-employment/freelance work is sometimes possible. Self-employment usually involves setting up a consultancy, usually after around ten years' experience and with good contacts, and is undertaken by a significant minority of researchers.
  • Short-term contracts are available via recruitment agencies, although these are generally for more senior market research posts.
  • Career breaks and secondments may be possible if working for larger organisations, and in particular if working client side.
  • Jobs have been widely available, though over the last year fewer posts have been advertised. There has always been competition for jobs in this area. Most opportunities with market research firms are in London and the South East of England. Client-side posts are generally available nationwide.
  • There is an approximate balance of men and women, though there tend to be more men in management roles.
  • This can be a fast-paced, pressurised role due to the tight deadlines, but it is also often challenging, varied and rewarding. 
There are various entry points into work as a market researcher and there are no standard entry requirements. Most people employed in the profession have at least a first degree but skills such as communication, organisation and the ability to analyse are regarded as more important. Market research is a competitive industry to join, therefore most people have a degree.
Market research is open to all graduates/Diplomates. The following degree subjects may be particularly helpful:
For quantitative research:
  • statistics;
  • mathematics;
  • psychology;
  • economics;
  • marketing;
  • business/management. 
For qualitative research:
  • psychology;
  • English;
  • languages;
  • sociology;
  • anthropology;
  • social sciences.
For specialist industrial market research posts, a degree in a specific subject linked to the industry, such as engineering or science, may be useful. Languages are an advantage for international work. For some posts, an understanding and knowledge of specialist statistical software may give candidates an edge.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not usually needed, although, for some types of roles, a Masters/diploma in a statistics-related subject may improve candidates' chances, particularly if their first degree is not statistical.
Pre-entry experience in areas such as research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques will be helpful. Relevant work experience can be gained through vacation work, work placements, shadowing or volunteering. A range of market research agencies offer structured placement opportunities.
Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
  • interpersonal skills, with strong written and oral communication skills;
  • good analytical and numerical skills;
  • accuracy and attention to detail;
  • the ability to use initiative;
  • excellent organisational skills;
  • business awareness;
  • creativity and problem-solving skills;
  • teamwork and negotiation skills;
  • flexibility and drive; 
  • IT literacy;
  • an interest in psychology and behaviour.
Competition is strong. Speculative approaches can be more successful than relying on advertised vacancies. Consider applying for research assistant posts first. Develop contacts through networking or via relevant professional bodies

Sunday, 3 July 2011

seismic interpreter (geology)

Seismic interpreters work from surveys which involve sending pulses of sound energy down through layers of rock beneath the earth's surface. The energy which bounces back is recorded. Acquired data is then processed by seismic data processors and sent to seismic interpreters for analysis.
Seismic interpreters combine the use of 2D, 3D and 4D models with their geological knowledge to calculate the depth and outline of underground formations in order to make estimates of mineral or carbon deposits. These are used by energy or minerals extraction companies or to inform environmental assessments or geological research if working in other settings.

Typical work activities

Tasks typically involve:
  • interpreting data of seismic sections (3D and 2D sections of the earth's crust) from surveys, satellites and acoustic measurements;
  • using data to generate maps and cross sections of the earth's structure to locate oil-bearing strata, etc.;
  • analysing and generating scientific and numerical data;
  • working with reservoir engineers to evaluate hydrocarbon prospects - looking at how much oil and gas there is, how easy it is to get to, and what difficulties and hazards might be encountered;
  • predicting any changes, movements and flow in the rock structures where the hydrocarbons are present;
  • conducting detailed analyses of current exploration fields for data that may have a bearing on new wells, looking at how productive they are likely to be and whether there may be any structural problems to consider;
  • using a combination of well and seismic data to convert map structures from time to depth in order to know how deep drilling needs to be;
  • using seismic data to collect information about rock quality and volume (seismic reflections come back in different strengths, according to whether the subsurface material is sand, shells, water, oil, etc.) in order to measure how much oil or gas is likely to be in a given structure;
  • analysing seismic data for sub-surface engineering applications;
  • interpreting seismic data for environmental assessments and geological research;
  • writing scientific reports;
  • delivering technical presentations to clients at the end of a project;
  • using specialised equipment to assess the physical properties of rock;
  • using a variety of highly sophisticated computer systems;
  • using computer modelling to simulate hydrocarbon generation and seismic responses of specific structures;
  • occasionally working on the development of specialised interpretation software;
  • using information from one oil basin (area of oil deposit) to locate potential in others;
  • advising and consulting with clients and colleagues;
  • supervising and training staff in the techniques listed above;
  • sharing information within a multidisciplinary team.
  • Typical starting salaries are between £20,000 and £30,000. Salaries often increase significantly after initial training (salary data collected Dec 09). In addition, many companies pay a comprehensive range of benefits to their employees and families.
  • After several years' experience salaries of £50,000-£70,000 are not uncommon (salary data collected Dec 09). However, there is wide variation depending on the nature of the company and location. For a detailed survey of salaries worldwide see the website of the Society of Petroleum Engineers .
  • Working hours are mainly nine to five, but additional hours may be required at key stages during a project or when a deadline must be met.
  • The majority of the work is office based.
  • Many roles are permanent, but companies also offer long-term contracts with higher rates of pay. Recruitment depends on the changing demand for oil, which is currently buoyant.
  • The industry is still male dominated with the majority of jobs at all levels being carried out by men. However, the number of women is increasing and there are large variations in gender balance from company to company.
  • Geographical mobility is important as exploration and production sites move to new locations around the world. Large companies provide accommodation and support for families in residential postings around the globe.
  • English is usually the language used for business in offices worldwide. In the UK, the majority of jobs are based around London or Aberdeen.
  • A number of companies have sites in many parts of the world and on any oil field there is likely to be a culturally diverse workforce.
  • The work may not be stressful on a daily basis, but there will be extremely busy times, such as when a drilling proposal is being put together, or when a problem arises.
  • Occasionally the work can become dangerous in the sense that oil is a politically sensitive commodity, so outbreaks of international tension may have an effect on the location or the day-to-day working conditions for employees.

Friday, 1 July 2011

cartographer (geography)

A cartographer is involved with the scientific, technological and artistic aspects of developing and producing maps. Cartographers present complex information as diagrams, charts and spreadsheets, as well as in the form of conventional maps. Geographical information systems (GIS) and digital-mapping techniques now dominate the role.
Maps and detailed geographical information are needed for a range of purposes, from everyday use by individuals to large-scale industrial development.
Cartographers work within a variety of areas, including publishing, government, surveying and conservation. The role varies widely from the development and design of geographical information to more strategic and technical work.

Typical work activities

The traditional methods employed in map-making have been superseded by the use of IT, enabling the generation and manipulation of dynamic images on screen. These developments have led to changes in the nature of the profession: within map-making, almost all the data is now collected and transmitted electronically, whereas in cartographic illustration the change has been less marked. In commercial cartographic publishing, the work has more in common with book publishing, requiring innovative design skills.
A cartographer's role can vary widely; from the technical role of the development, maintenance and manipulation of cartographic databases to the promotion of effective and efficient visualisation of geospatial information, to the design of bespoke maps.
Typical work activities may include:
  • designing maps, graphics, illustrations and layouts;
  • communicating information through the use of colour, symbols, style and other means;
  • using computers to compile and produce graphs for specialist and general users;
  • researching, selecting and evaluating map source data for use in the preparation or revision of maps and charts to various scales;
  • analysing and evaluating mappable information;
  • liaising with surveyors and designers;
  • collating data provided by remote sensing techniques (the means by which spatial and environmental data about the earth are acquired by sensors located in satellites and aircraft);
  • operating a photogrammetric plotting instrument or a digital photogrammetric workstation (DPW), which views the photographs stereoscopically, or in a 3D format;
  • design, maintenance and manipulation of geographical information (GI) databases;
  • working with geographical information systems (GIS) to see, model and analyse landscape features;
  • using desktop publishing packages to edit and formulate information;
  • capturing, maintaining and outputting digital geographic data;
  • generalising map data to allow for a reduction in scale (derived mapping);
  • checking and appraising the content and accuracy of maps, charts and printing proofs;
  • keeping up to date with emerging specialist software;
  • as seniority increases, managing projects, staff and resources
  • Range of typical starting salaries: £15,000 - £18,000.
  • Range of salaries with three to five years' experience: £20,000 - £25,000.
  • Range of typical salaries at senior levels: £30,000 - £45,000.
  • Salaries and conditions vary between employers and between the public and private sectors.
  • Working hours are mainly nine to five, usually based in an office, at a workstation. Flexi-time is common. While many of the more junior roles in cartography are information or desk-based, at senior levels there may be more interaction with other departments or clients.
  • The level of pressure varies according to role, though it is likely to rise when meeting publication or project completion deadlines.
  • Short-term contracts are increasingly common in the private sector.
  • Consultancy work is possible with considerable experience. Academic opportunities are scarce.
  • A small number of cartographers with experience go on to run their own companies or work on a self-employed basis.
  • Jobs are mainly available in south and southeast England, for example, in government departments, especially those involved in cartographical publishing.
  • Geographical mobility, in order to move laterally across the job market, may be necessary in your early career.
  • Travel within the working day is sometimes needed, but overnight absences and overseas travel are uncommon.

town planner

Town planner : Job description

Planners are at the heart of regeneration within towns and cities, taking into account the often competing views of business and local communities. In rural areas they must ensure that development is sustainable, and that the right balance of development is achieved to preserve the countryside. The work of planners also makes a positive contribution to tackling the effects of climate change.

Typical work activities

Planning is a broad area of work that requires many different skills. Some planners specialise in a particular area of work, such as protecting the historical environment or urban design. In general, key planning activities include:
  • developing creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties;
  • consulting with stakeholders and other interested parties and negotiating with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects;
  • assessing planning applications and enforcing and monitoring outcomes as necessary;
  • researching and designing planning policies to guide development;
  • researching and analysing data to help inform strategic developments, such as increases in affordable housing provision;
  • designing layouts and drafting design statements;
  • using information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems);
  • attending and presenting at planning boards and appeals and at public inquiries;
  • keeping up to date with legislation associated with land use;
  • promoting environmental education and awareness, which may include helping disadvantaged groups express their opinions about planning issues and proposals, and visiting sites to assess the effects of proposals on people or the environment;
  • scheduling available resources to meet planning targets;
  • writing reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations - these reports may be for a range of groups, from borough councils to regional assemblies, or members of the public.
  • Range of typical starting salaries for newly qualified planners (graduate or assistant planners): £16,000 - £28,000. Members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)  (chartered planners) may start higher on the salary scale than non-members.
  • Range of typical salaries for principal planners and team leaders: £29,000 - £45,000.
  • In the public sector, chief planning officers, heads of departments and directors can earn between £55,000 and £80,000, and occasionally more.
  • Public sector employment often includes a generous holiday entitlement and pension scheme. Other benefits may include essential car user allowances, flexible working hours, home-based working and job share and, in London, interest-free season ticket loans.
  • Private sector pay is comparable with public sector pay. The private sector has greater flexibility to offer performance-related pay, profit share and other additional benefits, although annual leave entitlement and pension schemes may be less generous than in the public sector.
  • Working hours vary according to the sector and work levels. Normal working hours apply (e.g. nine to five) in many cases. More senior positions require additional commitment. Flexitime is often available, particularly in the public sector. There may be considerable contact with the public, politicians and pressure groups, which may on occasion involve evening or weekend meetings.
  • The work is largely office-based, but many planners make site visits, meet clients and attend external meetings.
  • The male/female ratio is generally evenly balanced.
  • Career breaks and job shares are possible.
  • Self-employment or freelance work is an option for experienced planners. A specialism can help you stand out from competitors, although it is important to have a diverse client base to maximise opportunities for income.
  • Jobs are available in most areas of the UK as every local authority employs planners. Planning consultancies are also located throughout the UK.
  • Travel within a working day to meetings or site visits can form part of the job, but overnight absence from home is rarely necessary. Overseas work may be required occasionally with some consultancies.

minerals surveyor (geology,geography,survaying,aprentership)

Minerals surveyor : Job description

Mineral surveyors are involved with a huge variety of operations including working with mines, quarries, peat workings, mineral processing plants, onshore oil and gas installations, methane extraction sites, mine water treatment plants, brickworks, concrete and cement works, waste transfer stations, recycling centers, and waste incinerators.
Minerals surveyors manage and develop quarries and mines, carrying out detailed surveys to enable valuations of the mineral content. They also work on landfill and waste management sites, and ensure all workings are safe and negotiate legal contracts to establish rights to work in a mine.

Typical work activities

Typical work activities include:
  • carrying out initial surveys, risk assessments and environmental impact assessments on potential sites to assess whether plans are workable;
  • providing advice on developing and managing mineral sites safely and within regulations;
  • exploring, mapping and developing sites for mineral extraction;
  • researching land and tax records to establish site ownership;
  • dealing with ownership rights and negotiating contracts to buy, lease or simply to provide access onto sites;
  • undertaking exploration work, such as taking samples and recording results;
  • providing valuations of mineral deposits;
  • providing advice on how best to restore the landscape after extraction is complete;
  • meeting with members of the public and providing information and advice to them as required;
  • liaising with local authorities and preparing planning applications for clients;
  • managing areas, such as mining sites, for owners;
  • predicting the environmental effects and impacts of mining, including air pollution and destruction of the landscape;
  • providing taxation advice, agreeing taxation levels on mineral assets and adjusting taxation agreements as required;
  • creating strategies for the re-use of previous development sites;
  • developing pollution licences;
  • charting surface areas using global positioning systems (GPS), building accurate 3-D models using digital imaging and specialist CAD (computer-aided design) software to map the structure of a site;
  • providing advice on how waste material should be disposed of.

Minerals surveyor : Salary and conditions

  • Range of typical salaries for those with experience and/or qualifications: £25,000 - £35,000 (salary data collected Aug 09).
  • Range of typical salaries at senior level: £35,000 - £50,000+. (salary data collected Aug 09).
  • Salaries vary considerably according to the location, sector and size of the employing organisation, with salaries normally higher in London. Local authority salaries are comparable and may include a final salary pension scheme.
  • The working week is usually 35 - 45 hours, but may include early starts or late finishes. Some weekend working may be necessary to meet deadlines. Surveyors in the public sector will work similar hours, although flexi-time is generally available.
  • The work is both office-based and conducted on site. Site visits and inspections are conducted outside in all weathers.
  • Underground mine workings can be dark, damp, and cramped at times. Surface workings can be dirty and are exposed to the weather. Mining equipment can also be noisy.
  • Safety regulations in mine workings must be strictly observed so hard hats, protective clothing and equipment must be used when on site.
  • Self-employment and freelance work are possible but not widespread.
  • Women are under-represented in the general surveying profession (currently only 11% of UK members are female, although 30% of student members are female (Feb 09)). In response to this, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has set up the ‘Raising the Ratio’ task force to try to encourage more women to enter the profession.
  • According to the 2008 2008 RICS and MacDonald & Company Salary and Benefits Survey , women’s salaries remain significantly less than their male counterparts, although the earnings gap has continued to narrow with women now earning 22% less than men, compared with 29% in 2005.
  • Opportunities exist throughout the UK and abroad, essentially where minerals are found.
  • The dress code tends to be conservative for meetings, and it is expected that surveyors will be smartly dressed even when visiting sites, although more appropriate clothing will be worn during underground mining inspections, for example.
  • A reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required as the work can be physically demanding. Site inspections may involve climbing down into excavated areas or mine workings.
  • There may be considerable travel within a working day, although absence from home overnight is uncommon. A company car is not usually offered, but mileage for site visits may be payable

geophysicist (geology)

Geophysicist/field seismologist : Job description

Job descriptions vary according to the area of employment. The work may include:
  • working within a research institute to investigate seismological structures and provide seismological information to the public and government;
  • undertaking seismic exploration and producing controlled source seismic data for an oil company or consultancy;
  • providing environmental consultancy, e.g., investigation of landfill sites, using geophysical techniques;
  • supporting an equipment pool for UK academic seismologists within academia.

Typical work activities

Geophysicists work in the field, which may be onshore or offshore and typical work activities include:
  • pre-planning projects before going on site;
  • deciding on suitable seismic measurement and data processing techniques;
  • taking equipment out to various locations around the world and deploying seismometers;
  • observing the reaction of recording equipment to detect irregularities;
  • using computers for data management, quality control and communication between the office and field locations;
  • interpreting and reporting on collected data to the team, clients, senior managers or partners at meetings and presentations;
  • thinking quickly and independently to solve problems, often with limited resources in remote locations;
  • designing, testing, modifying and repairing seismic equipment; adapting data collection procedures;
  • working closely with a small team of scientists and other staff who may be away in the field or offshore for several weeks at a time;
  • compiling charts and reports;
  • writing documentation and work logs;
  • training and advising other users (mainly academics and PhD students);
  • improving existing techniques in data acquisition and mathematical processing, as well as seeking to develop new techniques and methods  
    • Range of typical starting salaries: £22,000 - £25,000 with a first degree and around £24,000 - £30,000 with an MSc/PhD (salary data collected April 09).
    • Typical salary at senior level (after about six years), where the post holder is in charge of one or more major projects: £40,000 - £60,000 (salary data collected April 09).
    • Salaries vary between industries. Salary levels will be approximately 10% - 30% higher in commercial companies, such as oil service companies.
    • In a UK office-based role, hours are generally nine to five, but you will be expected to be flexible. At sea, the working day is 12 hours. You may also be called on during your free time if there is an urgent need. Sea trips typically last for four to six weeks but may take considerably longer or be as short as one day.
    • Working arrangements vary between companies and roles. Geophysicists who work in offices and laboratories can expect safe, comfortable working conditions and 40-hour work weeks. Those who are involved in exploration geophysics can expect very different working conditions, which may involve time abroad or at sea followed by a similar length of time on leave and then the same length of time office-based. In an exploration role as a contractor, you can generally expect six weeks on and six weeks off.
    • Part-time work is very rare but freelance consultancy or setting up your own consultancy practice are real possibilities, provided you make the right contacts.
    • The proportion of men working in the sector is higher than women. Women can join and be represented by the Royal Astronomical Society Committee for Women in Astronomy and Geophysics (RAS CWiAG), www.sstd.rl.ac.uk/rascwiag/.
    • Geophysical exploration companies are based across the UK, with a high proportion in Aberdeen and on the south-east coast of England.
    • Dress code depends on whether you work in an office or on site.
    • Site work will involve extensive absence from home and overseas work and travel as well as high levels of responsibility and stress. There are possibilities for relocation but this very much depends on your career choices and plans.
    • The role can involve lots of travel working abroad or at sea depending on whether you work in exploration or laboratories and academia.