Mining workers are in demand. Picture: iStock
Mining workers are in demand. Picture: iStock

The new jobs luring miners back to work

AUSTRALIA'S miners are in demand again, but the sector has changed since the boom days.

Research from SEEK revealed job advertisements in the mining, resources and energy sector grew 34 per cent year on year, recording the largest increase of all employing sectors in May.

It was followed by government and defence (up 29 per cent), community services and development (26 per cent) and engineering (25 per cent).

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Most sectors recorded growth in advertised roles on SEEK. Picture: Supplied
Most sectors recorded growth in advertised roles on SEEK. Picture: Supplied

Mining, resources and energy experienced its strongest growth in Queensland, where SEEK job ads increased 46 per cent year on year, followed by the Northern Territory (45 per cent), Victoria (36 per cent), Western Australia (31 per cent), New South Wales (25 per cent) and South Australia (21 per cent).

Despite the growth, the sector had not returned to it's old self.

The type of roles being advertised had changed significantly over the past six years.

Between 2012 and 2018, the portion dedicated to maintenance and operation increased from 63 per cent to 78 per cent, while the portion dedicated to exploration and geoscience surveying decreased from 17 per cent to 6 per cent.

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Miners may have to take their helmets back off the hook as work ramps up again. Picture: iStock
Miners may have to take their helmets back off the hook as work ramps up again. Picture: iStock

NAB economist Kaixin Owyong said there had been a shift from capex (capital expenditure) hiring to opex (operational expenditure) hiring.

"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 capital stock running."

Contract work had also become much more common between 2012 and 2016, although it was now turning around again.

During the mining downturn, employers were reluctant to hire permanent staff and the ratio of contract to permanent job ads climbed steeply to reach a peak of about 0.9 in 2016.

This meant there was almost an equal number of contract roles and permanent roles being advertised in the sector.

The SEEK data showed, however, this trend was now reversing, suggesting renewed confidence among employers.

The ratio now sat at about 0.6, so there was roughly two contract roles advertised for every three permanent roles.

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SEEK ratio of contractor to permanent job ads in mining in May 2018
SEEK ratio of contractor to permanent job ads in mining in May 2018

ManpowerGroup's recent Employment Outlook Survey suggested mining and construction positivity would continue into the third quarter, too.

It revealed a seasonally-adjusted Net Employment Outlook - the portion of employers anticipating higher headcounts minus portion anticipating lower headcounts - of 10 per cent.

This was in line with Australia's overall NEO (also 10 per cent) and stronger than that of manufacturing (9 per cent), finance, insurance and real estate (8 per cent) and wholesale and retail trade (5 per cent).

READ MORE EMPLOYMENT NEWS IN THE CAREERS SECTION OF SATURDAY'S PAPERS


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