Following the recent downturn in the mining industry and the green shoots of a turnaround, what's the job outlook?
The recent downturn in the mining industry in Australia has left many people asking about the job market. What’s the outlook? What do the experts think is going to happen in the next few years?
Awkwardly, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s multi-tiered.
In the past few years, “total mining employment statistics” have included those employed on construction projects within the mining and resources industry. Obviously, the construction phase of projects — including quite a few major, multibillion-dollar projects — employed thousands of people. But as these projects move to the operational phase, the number of people employed in the industry has naturally decreased.
So it’s time to shift our focus away from construction jobs that happen to be in mining to the kinds of “operational roles” that provide employment in the mining industry long-term.
However, the fact is the number of operational roles available has also declined in recent years. There are several key reasons for that, including sites closing, companies reducing the numbers of operational staff, automation and centralisation.
Industry’s green shoots are good news
But in recent weeks there have been some positive signs. Companies are advertising again. Near-mine exploration is occurring once again. Some of the major companies are partnering with junior explorers in the hope of exploiting deposits together. Other companies, like Newcrest, have stated they plan to grow through exploration not acquisition. These are all positive signs for employment in the mining industry for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
In addition to this, the industry downturn has also seen miners from overseas — places like the United Kingdom and Ireland — returning home as work became scarcer. With the potential pool of workers reduced and job ads on the increase, there has never been a better time to get a foot on the ladder of a mining industry career.
So what does all this mean for the likelihood of people like you getting a start? Well, right now it is still challenging for a lot of people. But the industry will gain momentum and, when it does, make sure you are in the right place at the right time.