Mining skills still in demand

DESPITE government statistics showing mining employment across Australia has fallen, the Australian Mines and Metals Association says its careers website is still experiencing strong demand for a number of trades in the sector.
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Lauren Barrett

AMMA’s resources career website,, conducts regular analysis of ABS labour force figures against trends on its public jobs board.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest quarterly labour force figures revealed 261,100 Australians were employed as a direct result of investment in the country’s mining, oil and gas projects at the end of May.

The Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victorian resource sectors created an additional 4500 jobs during the quarter.

While the figure showed the resource sector remained strong, AMMA said a small dip in the figures came as no surprise.

“Due to softening commodity prices and some project deferrals the 2% decrease in total mining employment, according to the ABS data, came as little surprise to the resource industry,” AMMA jobs site director Kyla Jones said.

After a decade of being the fastest growing source of employment in Australia, with annual growth averaging 25%, Jones said it was clear a conscious focus on regulatory reform to increase Australia’s productivity and competitiveness was required to sustain long-term opportunities.

“If this pipeline of projects can be secured for our shores through creating an environment more conducive to investment, government estimates tell us that the construction demands alone could create around 135,000 new jobs by 2018,” Jones said.

“Much of this future demand will be driven by the emerging LNG sector, with key skilled tradespeople such as boilermakers and welders already in short supply and among the most sought after occupations on our website.”

Despite the slower paced growth being experienced in the resources industry, Jones said there were 1500 job vacancies on AMMA’s jobs website.

“We continue to experience strong recruitment activities by most sectors of the resource industry, particularly for skilled and technical positions,” she said.

“Our site shows the highest demand remains for engineers, maintenance workers, designers and drafters, machinery operators and skilled trade workers.”

There is about $268 billion worth of resource projects under construction in the country.

This figure could grow with 287 additional projects being considered, representing an approximate value of $354 billion.

With more projects tipped to come online over the short and long term, AMMA expects skills demand and recruitment activity within the industry to remain robust.