Resources companies need to build the specialist skills of their workers as the sector shifts from construction into operations and major oil and gas projects come online, a workforce trends report says.
The report says the resources sector is in transition, not decline, with some of our biggest resources projects moving from a construction phase to an operations phase, and major mining, oil and gas projects coming on stream.
The Resources Sector Skills Needs 2013 report, produced by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA), examines the sector’s changing skills and employment outlook to 2018.
It estimates growth in the South Australian Sector for the period to 2017, when Holden’s closure is due to be complete, at around 1400 jobs.
It finds as the industry moves from construction into an operations phase, particularly in the growing oil and gas sector, resources companies will need to develop more people with specialised technical skills and industry experience, to maintain momentum and growth in the sector.
“For the best part of a decade, the Resources Sector has been one of Australia’s most important and influential industries—and an engine of national economic growth,” the report says.
“Growth has been driven by strong demand from China, India and other developing countries resulting in investment in major resources projects, particularly in Western Australia and Queensland.
“Iron ore is now Australia’s largest export commodity in terms of revenue; we are the world’s fourth largest producer of coal; we have significant gas fields; our production of natural gas is increasing substantially; and we are set to become the world’s second largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
“In the last few years, uncertain global economic conditions, weakening commodity prices, declining investment and increasing global competition have prompted speculation the resources boom may be coming to an end.
“However, industry experts believe the Resources Sector is in transition, not decline.”
The report says there is ample time for the sector to adjust.
“With a long lead time required to develop critical skills for the sector’s future, especially in oil and gas, it is clear industry, government, and education and training providers need to collaborate and plan now to develop the workforce the industry will need in the years to 2018.”
Key findings in the report’s snapshot of the sector
- The Resources Sector accounts for around 9.6 per cent of Australia’s GDP.South Australia’s Resources Sector contributes 4.8 per cent of the State’s GSP.
- Mining accounts for more than 35 per cent of Western Australia’s Gross State Product, 19 per cent of the Northern Territory’s, and just under 10 per cent of Queensland’s.
- While the Resources Sector employs just 261,800 people – 2.2 per cent of Australia’s workforce – it contributes substantially to employment in aligned industries.
- Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales account for 85.2 per cent of national employment in mining.
- Projected employment is expected to be strongest in the Pilbara in Western Australia, and the Darling Downs and Mackay regions of Queensland.
- Mining has experienced the fastest rate of jobs growth of all industries in the past decade, increasing by 174,400—an annual growth rate of 11.6 per cent.
Skills in the sector
- A high proportion of mining workers are skilled, with 63.3 per cent having a Certificate III level qualification or higher, compared with 58.0 per cent across all industries.
- The sector employs approximately 110,000 tradespeople, that is 6.5 per cent of all tradespeople, and almost twice the number it did in 2005.
- The sector employed 13,700 trade apprentices in 2012, representing 6.8 per cent of all trade apprentices, up from 2.4 per cent in 2005.
Who’s working in the sector?
- Reflecting the industry’s preference for experienced workers, mining employs a significantly higher proportion of workers aged 25 to 44 years (58.1 per cent) than the all industries average (45.1 per cent). The proportion of 15 to 19 year olds in mining (1 per cent) is well below the all industries average (5.8 per cent).
- Males account for the vast majority of employees in the industry (85.4 per cent), compared with 54.3 per cent for all industries.
- The share of females in the mining workforce has increased over the past 10 years, up from 11.1 per cent in May 2003, to 14.6 per cent in May 2013.
- Mining employs the highest proportion of Indigenous workers in relation to its total workforce at 3.1 per cent, compared with 1.4 per cent for all industries.
Jobs in the sector
- Almost all jobs in mining (97 per cent) are full-time, the largest proportion of all industries.
- Median weekly full-time earnings in mining stood at $2,000 in 2012, 73.5 per cent higher than the all industries median.
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