Permanent mining employment makes a comeback

A buoyant marketplace for permanent work is making a welcome return for job seekers in Australia’s mining industry.

Human resources agency DFP Recruitment, in its latest mining and resources job index, reported that permanent job vacancies increased by 44.5 per cent during 2017 after a 4.4 per cent improvement in December.

The rise in permanent vacancies lifted this category to 82.28 on the DFP index, its highest point since mid-2015 and in similar territory to where the temporary and contract vacancies category currently stands.

“While this level infers that vacancies are still 18 per cent lower than late-2013 when measurement commenced, it is still a massive turnaround after three years of decline,” DFP explained.

Meanwhile, temporary and contract vacancies were 31.2 per cent higher in 2017, but 2.9 per cent lower in December — a normal seasonal pattern, according to DFP.

Overall, the job index rose by 1.3 per cent in December to 82.44, its highest point since April 2014. In 2017, job opportunities rose by 38.7 per cent.

“We have seen rises in the last six consecutive months, a considerable shift after the dismal markets seen between 2015—2016. There is good cause to feel optimistic about employment prospects in 2018,” DFP reported.

DFP’s national index and job type analysis


Employment vacancies surged in Western Australia in the fourth quarter of 2017, climbing by 9.5 per cent over the three months and by 4.7 per cent in December alone.

For the year, job prospects in WA added 32.9 per cent to sit at 83.45 on the index — still 17 per cent below late 2013.

Queensland finished 2017 as the biggest improver for the year with a 40.3 per cent improvement in vacancies. However, DFP pointed out that Queensland started off a low base and that its early 2017 gains lost momentum in the final quarter when the state increased by just 1.7 per cent.

“This easing is most likely seasonally related and opportunities in Queensland should pick up again in the New Year,” DFP said.

Iron ore was the standout commodity when it came to increasing job prospects in 2017. Demand shot up 67.6 per cent over the 12 months.

The coal sector surged in the final quarter, rising by 35.7 per cent. However, the performance by coal in the final three months made up for a poor year, with the sector falling 1.7 per cent.

“Prospects (in coal) in 2018 hinge on development of the Adani project in the Galilee Basin and any relaxation of state CSG (coal seam gas) exploration restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria,” DFP added.

The only occupational group that saw signs of seasonal contraction in December was trades and operators, dropping 2.4 per cent. According to DFP, the market looks favourable for engineering professionals, business support and operational management.

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