Resource sector employer confidence doubles

A survey has found that 39.9% of employers in the resources sector intend to increase their staff levels over the coming quarter, an increase of 20.4 percentage points.

A survey compiled by recruitment firm Hudson has revealed employers in the resource sector are increasingly confident in the sustainability of their business.

The survey, released yesterday, canvassed employer sentiment for the period up to the end of March 2010.

According to the firm, 39.9% of employers in the sector intend to increase their permanent staff levels over the coming quarter.

This was an increase of 20.4 percentage points on the December 2009 quarter results, making it the largest quarterly increase in sentiment nationally, Hudson said.

“A recovery in resources demand from China and a rebound in commodity prices have seen a strong return of confidence in the resources industry,” the company said in a statement.

“A range of mining and resource projects are now being fast tracked and many employers are having to ramp up workforce planning for the work ahead.”

Confidence in the Western Australian resources industry experienced a massive increase of 39.3 percentage points to reach 54.1%.

According to Hudson, WA employers are now at their most confident in 12 months.

“The resources sector is amongst the most confident industries in WA after having been the least confident last quarter,” the firm said.

“As more projects get signed off, skills shortages are expected to return in a number of key areas and WA will again have to make efforts to attract resources from other parts of Australia.

“Senior engineers with over ten years’ experience are in highest demand.” The Queensland resources industry, particularly its coal sector, also experienced strong growth of 10.2 percentage points to hit 37.9%.

“Operational employment capacities have returned to pre-economic downturn levels and the supply chain is under considerable pressure to meet demand,” Hudson said.

“Employment growth is expected to be driven by the expansion of existing facilities and the construction of new mines in Central Queensland, such as the proposed $7.5 billion China First Project.

“The Queensland Resources Council is predicting the creation of about 50,000 jobs in Central Queensland over the next five to ten years.”

Confidence among employers in NSW’s Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions was up 5.9 percentage points to 52.4%, building on the massive increase in the previous quarter.

“Sentiment is now extremely high and is at by far its highest level in the past 12 months,” the firm said.

“Port infrastructure expansion continues to boost confidence in the region, with coal exports expected to increase significantly over coming years.”

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