Jun 14, 2018

More mining jobs, more permanent roles

More mining jobs, more permanent roles

The mining, resources and energy sector is leading the pack for job ads growth, according to SEEK’s latest employment report.

Its data also shows a rise in the number of permanent positions on offer compared to contract roles.

The recruitment business said mining, resources and energy job ads grew by 34 per cent last month compared to May of last year.

Job ads in general grew by 10.7 per cent over the same period.

Government and Defence job ads grew by 29 per cent in the 12-month period, while community service and development job ads increased by 26 per cent.

SEEK said the 34 per cent increase in mining, resources and energy job ads built on an increase in job ads in that sector since 2016, when the industry began to recover after four years of decline.

Mining is the third largest contributor to the Australian economy, behind services and construction and employs about 226,500 people, according to ABS trend data.

During the mining downturn between 2012 and 2016, alongside the loss of 55,000 jobs, there was a reluctance to hire permanent staff in the mining sector, however SEEK data shows that this trend is reversing.

Since mid-2016, the number of permanent job ads SEEK recorded in the sector has been increasing, suggesting renewed confidence in the sector.

This was reflected in a recent survey of mining industry executives from the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

Chief executive officers were asked how they expected total employment at their Queensland operations to change over the next 12 months.

The QRC said 52 per cent of chief executive officers expected to increase their workforce in the next year, while only 9 per cent expected a decrease.

Where CEOs reported an expected decrease in hiring, this was due to their operations moving from a project to operational phase.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the sustained lift in commodity prices was driving employment growth and confidence across all commodities.

“Currently the sector is responding to these higher prices with a measured approach to employment growth following several years of a downturn. However, the sector must compete for every contract and innovate to stay globally competitive to ensure the growth continues,” he said.

SEEK noted a shift in the type of jobs being advertised in mining in 2018 compared to job ads during the 2012 boom.

There is a notable increase in Opex (operating expenditure) over Capex (capital expenditure) related job ads.

NAB economist Kaixin Owyong comments on this shift: “During the mining boom, there was a huge amount of investment that significantly increased the mining capital stock,” she said.

“This phase also required more exploratory roles for potential greenfields investment. Immediately after the boom, mining firms were focusing on keeping costs low, and put off maintenance work. However, more recently, commodity prices have lifted and firms are spending again on maintenance roles, which are needed to keep the (much larger) capital stock running.”

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