Aussie miners sweat over job security

Job security is becoming increasingly unstable in the mining industry and more than a third of people responding to an Australian Mining poll say they are concerned about the future of their roles.

Over 7000 people voted in the online poll, with a whopping 34.81 per cent worried about their jobs.

Nearly 2000 people, or 26.5 per cent said they had already lost their job in mining while another 23 per cent said the future looked uncertain.

Only 800 people, or 11 per cent, voted to say that their jobs were safe.

The results come as little surprise after a year filled with pairing back and job cuts.

Cutbacks have ranged from small belt-tightening measures, such as 100 job losses at Illawarra Coal, to major reviews which has seen over 500 jobs cut from BHP Billiton’s iron ore business.

Coal miners have felt the most pain, with thousands of roles stripped out of the sector and some analysts are expecting the situation to get worse.

A report released by ANZ earlier this year said up to 75,000 mining-related jobs are at risk as Australia enters “phase three” of the mining boom over the next few years.

The mining industry is estimated to employ around 263,000 people, meaning ANZ are predicting nearly a third of these roles will be slashed.

It is believed these cuts will come as the sector re-stabilises its workforce to pre-boom numbers amid falling investment and commodity demand.

And this rebalance is set to affect people working on the frontline as project expansions come to completion and productivity pushes become more aggressive.

Director of recruitment company Maddison Collins, Elizabeth Thair said job insecurity could lead to a sense of loss and anxiety.

“Dealing with this sense of loss is our first priority so that a person’s confidence and self-belief can be developed going forward," Thair said.

Thair said there are a number of steps a person dealing with job loss can take to rebuild their focus and  recommends undertaking a frank self-assessment which aimed to identify skills, abilities, strengths, interests and unique qualities to determine realistic career objectives and the pathways to get there.

“With the current job market flat and hundreds applying for each job vacancy, unless you have an award winning resume, and stand out of the crowd when addressing selection criteria, you will not get an interview.”

However, despite the doom and gloom, mining is still worth big money, and as long as there is coin to be made, there will be jobs.

Figures out of WA’s Department of Mines and Petroleum said the state’s sector is worth $121.6 billion and as of September 2014 there was an estimated $160 billion worth of resource projects under construction or in the committed stage of development.

A further $108 billion has been allocated to planned or possible projects over the next few years.

While yesterday, a mining conference in Melbourne heard Chinese private in Australia was also set to grow.

Scott Gardiner, managing partner at King & Wood Mallesons said while the deals were small, like China Molybdenyum’s $900m purchase of Rio Tinto’s NorthParkes copper mine, they were also on the increase.

“The trend is clearly heading in a positive direction, so I would expect we will see more private transactions in Australia,” Gardiner said

“I also think we will see a greater interaction between the (Chinese) private sector and state-owned enterprises,” he said.

“There is a nimbleness that private investors can bring to Australia that to date the state-owned enterprises haven’t had.”

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