WA mining sector to lose 20 per cent of workers by 2020

Resource industry employment in Western Australia will drop by 20 per cent over the next decade, down to an estimated 87,000 workers.

The industry phase change from construction to operations, combined with falling commodity prices will force the reduction in worker demand over the next decade, according to the WA Resources Sector Outlook 2015-2025.

The report released last week was published by CME and Deloitte Access Economics for the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

By 2020 the number of construction workers will drop by 17,300 below 2014 levels, many of which will be coming out of the Pilbara region as major expansion projects finish.

The proportion of FIFO workers needed is expected to increase from 60 per cent of the workforce to 63 per cent by 2020, however this statistic is unlikely to result from a real increase in the number of FIFO workers.

Local workers will be glad to know that the proportion of residential workers, sitting at 14 per cent in 2014, is pegged to increase to 25 per cent of the overall workforce in the state.

Operational workforces are expected to grow by 4300 new workers by 2019, to be followed by 800 redundancies by 2020.

Overall, despite transitioning from the construction to operational phase of the mining industry, worker numbers will be approximately double the pre-boom levels.

Women and Aboriginal workers are not expected to fare better by much, with a 1.5 per cent increase in female participation, and a 2.3 per cent increase in indigenous workplace participation expected by 2020.

According to the report, labour productivity will increase by 40 per cent to 2017, and plateau to 2025.

The WA Resources Sector Outlook was first published in 2009, and has been updated in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

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