Why the Australian mining industry needs 21,000 new workers by 2024
According to the Australian Resources and Energy Group’s latest workforce forecasting report, insights suggest that the Australian mining industry will need an additional 21,000+ employees by 2024 to keep up with demand.
With 57 projects scheduled over the next four years, totalling an estimated worth of $41 billion, the current mining industry will need approximately 20,767 on-site employees before 2024 in order to go ahead. In fact, these predictions are just the bare minimum as the report does not include the 153 prospective mining projects which may be possible throughout this time period.
The estimated forecast occupational breakdown expects: 8,660 mining plant operators, 2,847 heavy diesel fitters, 970 trade workers (for a selection of trades including mechanical, electrical and maintenance), 4,110 supervisors, management and administration roles as well as 4,180 engineers, technicians, geologist roles.
AMMA’s chief executive officer, Steve Knott believes that the industry has never had such exponential growth as is currently forecasted for the period between 2020 – 2024. With that being said, it is ever so important for the industry to succeed. In order to do so, it is vital for the Australian mining industry to work alongside the government, employers and peak industry bodies to ensure that all areas are well equipped for the growth.
The report demonstrates the workforce demand for the newly proposed projects across each region, with Western Australia having the greatest proportion of new mining workforce demand. Western Australia is expected to be running 30 projects, which will require 10,679 operational employees by 2024. Queensland comes in as the second largest region to experience the forecasted growth, requiring an additional 5,714 mining employees due to the large number of coal projects which are expected over the next four years.
Historic growth within the Australian Mining industry
On average, the mining sector generates $228.4 billion dollars in total revenue for Australia, which equates to a contribution of 7.7% to the Australian Gross Domestic Product.
Source – IBIS 2018
Western Australia has remained as the leading region in relation to the mining contribution within the nation. In fact, within the past two years Western Australia accounts for 55.7% of minerals and energy output, 60.6% of mineral exploration expenditure, 54.7% of petroleum exploration expenditure and 53.1% of mining investments.
Industry growth predominately is powered by commodity prices (rebounding from 2014 / 2015 lows). Since these times, bulk commodity prices are 87.1% higher with base metal prices being 33.4% higher. Compared to the five year average, Australia’s dollar exchange rate and trade weighted index are below the benchmark which supports the demand for local commodities.
The growth within the mining industry is evident with the job positions increasing by 45.8% since August 2018 and the need for 21,000 new workers by 2024. However, it is expected to be difficult to reach these projected employment goals with over 43% of mining businesses reported to have limited availability in terms of skilled labour. Furthermore, the challenges that tend to come with working within the mining industry is expected to be a challenge in attracting new employees with statistics finding that fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers are said to have a higher risk of experiencing psychological distress as opposed to non-FIFO workers (32.6% versus 16.2%). With that being said, the Australian mining industry are implementing workplace policies to ensure that all employees are supported within all aspects of their career and personal life. MATES in mining is just one initiative of the Australian mining industry that works to support the mental health of all workers.
The Australian mining industry is a progressive workforce that is on the rise, opening up fantastic opportunities for a number of industries. With revenue growth expected to expand by 4% within the next five years and the number of new job opportunities to reach 21,000 by 2024, the time to make a career change is now.
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