Recruitment firm, Hays, has released the January – June 2019 edition of their ‘Hotspots of skills in demand’ report, outlining which skills are on the radar for Australia’s mining and minerals sector.
The report follows the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)’s December warning that Australia’s resources industry is facing a skills shortage by the end of the decade due to low levels of enrolments in engineering and other related disciplines.
In the MCA’s Senate Select Committee on the Future of Worker and Workers Submission it notes, ‘for mining engineering, the moving average trend for university completions from 2017 to 2020 is expected to decline by 81 per cent. In the same period, labour demand is expected to decline by only 13 per cent’.
Hays states that the industry’s in-demand skills and positions vary depending on location, so below is a summary of what was highlighted in the report:
Western Australia’s resources and mining sector is heating up, with AU $1 billion worth of investment (in the form of new projects and mine expansions) in the pipeline.
According to the 2018-19 State Budget, LNG, iron ore, gold and lithium will be the main drivers of growth in the WA economy.
With this positive news for the industry, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Nicole Roocke, predicts that another 20,000 local jobs are expected to be created in this financial year, with WA’s resources sector continuing to play a major role in securing and growing the state’s economic future.
Given the recent exploration spending, Hays is continuing to see high demand for available Exploration Geologists and Field Assistants (however, these candidates are in increasingly short supply).
Hays has also stated that Drill and Blast Operators with experience in Pit Vipers, T45, L7s and 1100 drill rigs will be increasingly needed over the period and Dump Truck Operators will be sought after as well.
Hays states that the reawakening of Queensland’s mining industry over the past 12 months has created strong demand for technical professionals, including Mining Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Geologists and Surveyors with underground experience.
Trades such as Mechanical Fitters, Boilermakers and Electricians are expected to be in demand to keep on top of the maintenance of fixed plant equipment.
Diesel Fitters and Auto Electricians will also be in demand to maintain the mobile fleet to keep the mining industry moving.
It is expected that Electrical Engineers with HV design experience in 11kv to 132kv primary and secondary systems will be in high demand for South Australia due to a number of energy sites currently under construction and connecting to the grid.
Hays warns that Control System Engineers with heavy industry experience in programming PLC and SCADA systems are also scarce. Demand for these roles derives from contracting firms for the major mining sites with FIFO and residential roles available.
In the Northern Territory, rising optimism is fuelling demand for Heavy Diesel Fitters with experience on specific machinery such as CAT, Komatsu and Liebherr.
Additionally, Auto Electricians are also highly sought after, with contractors looking for candidates with experience using machinery onsite as well as candidates with strong previous industry experience.
New South Wales
According to the report, all mining sectors in the Hunter and Western regional areas of the state will require increased amounts of Boilermakers, Mechanical Fitters, Underground Electricians and Drill Fitters.
Surveyors, Mining Engineers and Geologists are also in high demand as mines across New South Wales continue to ramp up production.
With demand for talent growing, the resulting wage pressure for these roles has seen multiple mines either increase their base salaries or look at other innovative salary packaging ideas that will help them attract the top talent.
Lastly, the recruitment firm outlines that Victoria’s resources and mining market has seen significant growth and has experienced ‘very high demand’ for candidates in areas that are already suffering from skill shortages.
Blue-collar workers are especially in demand due to Victoria’s mines and quarries producing large amounts of resources and Hays states that employers are aware of this fact and are moving quickly when a suitable candidate becomes available.
Diesel Mechanics and Boilermakers are in particular demand following the introduction of EBA rates on rail and major infrastructure projects.
Mechanical Fitters and All-round Operators are also in consistently high demand.
Hays’ full report ‘Hotspots of skills in demand: Jan – June 2019’ can be found here.