Growth in job opportunities reflects skills shortages

Job opportunities in the Australian mining industry have continued to grow significantly in 2018.

According to online recruitment portal SEEK, job advertising in its mining, resources and energy category was 54 per cent higher across the country in January 2018 compared to 12 months earlier.

Related sector categories, including trades and services (31 per cent), engineering (25 per cent), and science and technology (22 per cent), have also started the year with strong increases compared to the same stage of 2017.

The expansion in opportunities at SEEK comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that 16,000 new jobs were added throughout Australia during January, a record 16th straight month of growth.

SEEK managing director Kendra Banks said there was strong national demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, which reflected a global talent shortage.

“This talent shortage has been identified by Australian CEOs as one of their top business risk areas, but it also creates huge competitive job opportunities for Australians with engineering and IT skills,” Banks said.

Mining companies have demonstrated their awareness of the emerging shortage of STEM skills, which has been flagged as a growing concern as the industry evolves in these areas.

For example, Rio Tinto teamed up with Murdoch University in Western Australia last year to support a program to boost student engagement in science-based subjects at regional schools.

Rio renewed its support of workshops aimed at helping students discover where STEM subjects can take them in their career.

“To enable our company to supply the metals and minerals that help the world continually develop, we need to invest in ensuring the future workforce has the interest and capability to pursue their STEM learning and career goals,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore general manager communities Linda Dawson said when the partnership was announced.

SEEK’s mining, resources and energy category recorded the greatest year-on-year growth in job opportunities in five of the eight Australian states or territories during January.

In Queensland, job growth was 71 per cent higher in January compared to a year earlier. South Australia (68 per cent), the Northern Territory (67 per cent), NSW (60 per cent) and Victoria (37 per cent) also increased substantially.

The engineering category (56 per cent) edged out mining, resources and energy as the sector with the most growth in WA.

In terms of opportunities in science and technology roles on SEEK, Victoria led the market in January (30 per cent growth), followed by Queensland (24 per cent) and New South Wales (21 per cent).

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