Rise in mining job ads signals start of turnaround

If job advertisement volumes are any indication, employment prospects in Australia’s mining industry are officially on the rise.

Data from online jobs portal Seek backs this statement. At a national level, job ads for mining, resources and energy on Seek increased 52 per cent in January when compared to the same period 12 months earlier.

In Western Australia –  the country’s major mining state – the mining, resources and energy industry experienced the greatest advertising growth of all industries during January, with job ads rising 45 per cent year-on-year.

Seek spokesperson Sarah Macartney told Australian Mining the data was encouraging for the mining industry, both nationally and in WA

Even more importantly, Macartney added that the decline in job advertising associated with the mining downturn looks to have finally turned.

“It’s good to see continued advertising growth across mining, resources and energy in Western Australia. This rebound coincided with the rally in commodity prices, though it remains to be seen whether these prices can be sustained,” Macartney said.

The lift if advertised mining, resources and energy jobs reflects the renewed optimism for employment opportunities being reported by miners and services companies.

In the first quarter of 2017, several company announcements have reported the prospect of hundreds of jobs being created by either new developments or mines reopening, including more than 1000 positions in Queensland between the Styx and Blair Athol coal operations.

Queensland joined WA as a state that has experienced a significant turnaround in advertised jobs. In fact, all eight states and territories recorded year-on-year growth of at least 17 per cent. Queensland led the way 70 per cent higher, while New South Wales registered a 44 per cent increase in job ads.

Engineers in demand

The largest volume of job ads for the mining industry in January were for engineering and maintenance roles, according to Seek.

“Mining professionals in high demand across Australia this January were mining engineering and maintenance specialists and mining operators, with more than 800 opportunities advertised for each role on Seek this January across Australia,” Macartney revealed.

Other disciplines that were also popular for job ads on Seek included: drill and blast, processing, management, and health, safety and environment (HSE).

In WA, the most popular roles for job ads were much the same as what was recorded nationally, Macartney added.

“The WA mining professionals in high demand this January were mining engineering and maintenance specialists, with more than 500 job opportunities on Seek, and mining operators with over 300 jobs advertised,” Macartney said.

Employers in control

Despite the increase in mining related jobs advertised on Seek, Macmartney said it was still a hirer’s market in the industry to start 2017.

“For each job advertised there was a higher than average number of candidates applying, creating more competition for job seekers but providing hirers with a larger pool of candidates to choose from,” Macartney said.

She added that the volume of mining jobs advertised was also still well below the highs reached during the mining boom.

“The job ad volume in WA specifically is still well below the highs that we saw during the mining boom,” said Macartney.

“It is encouraging to see the upward trend in advertising volume for the state, however it is well off the opportunities that we saw advertised in the height of the mining boom.”

Mining top paid industry

As the volume of job ads rises, mining, resources and energy remains the highest paid industry on Seek despite a slight year-on-year fall.

The average annual salary advertised on Seek for Australian mining, resources and energy industry jobs is $115,005, a one per cent drop on what the online employment platform reported in 2016.

Mining, resources and energy remains comfortably ahead of the consulting and strategy ($108,471), construction ($106,693), engineering ($103,247), and information and communication technology ($102,548) industries.

However, the four rounding out Seek’s top five highest paying industries all recorded increases compared with their averages from a year ago.

Macartney said it was interesting to see that the mining, resources and energy industry was still the top paid on Seek.

“The decline in job advertising associated with the mining downturn looks to have finally turned and earning prospects remain strong for those working in this industry,” she said.

“However, it’s important to point out that while it is great to see high earning potential across industries that actual growth in advertised salary year-to-year has remained relatively flat,” Macartney said.

“Employees should look at what other perks or benefits they can weave into their remuneration if salaries are not on the rise. This may be the inclusion of a phone or car in their package, free parking or gym memberships, or increased annual leave.”

Mining, resources and energy also featured in Seek’s top five highest paying jobs. Salaries for managers in the industry increased by one per cent to $133,169, making the role the third highest paid job advertised on Seek behind architects ($137,707) and engineering managers ($133,530).

Macartney said it was also interesting that management roles in mining, resources and energy, along with engineering and information and communication technology (ICT), was among the top five highest paying jobs advertised on Seek.

“These roles directly support the growth and prosperity of our nation and in return these professionals are being highly remunerated to manage the build teams that can deliver on the needs of businesses,” Macartney concluded.

This article also appears in the April edition of Australian Mining. 

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