Australia’s mining industry facing severe skills shortage in 2011

by Ray Clancy on December 9, 2010

in Jobs in Australia

Living in Australia

Australia to face labor shortage in 2011

The mining industry in Australia is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers and high demand is expected throughout 2011.

Overall Australia is experiencing an increase in shortages of skilled workers as its economy continues to recover and unemployment rates fall. But the mining sector is regarded as facing a severe shortage because it is a high growth area and changes to immigration law affects trade people in particular.

The state of Queensland said it is facing critical skills shortages in many priority industry areas, especially high growth ones such as engineers for mining and coal seam gas projects.

The high demand for skilled workers in the Australian mining industry is likely to continue throughout 2011, according to a survey of 2,200 employers by Manpower. ‘We’ve heard a lot from mining and construction sector employers about skills shortages. Organisations need to prioritise attraction and retention strategies as the war for talent will be heating up,’ said Lincoln Crawley, managing director for Manpower Australia and New Zealand.

Western Australia, home to some of Australia’s largest mining operations had a net employment outlook of +27%, and employers in this state were predicting strong headcount growth during the first quarter of 2011,’ the survey shows.

‘We believe that 2011 is going to be a bumper year for job seekers, with the returning skills shortages set to heat up. Companies are going to have to be flexible about their job criteria and consider candidates who tick most, but not all, of their boxes. At the same time, candidates who are willing to relocate, re-skill or change industries will have plenty of opportunities to succeed,’ added Crawley.

According to the Association of Mining and Exploration (AMEC) the Australian Government needs to change its skilled immigration policy or risk losing smaller projects related to the mining industry.

The concern is that under new enterprise migration agreements, only projects worth more than $10 billion will have faster and easier access to workers from overseas.

‘We just think that discriminates against those smaller projects which essentially have the same sort of need for both skilled and unskilled workers in relation to their projects. A lot of those projects may get stalled and not go ahead so there’s a serious risk to some of those projects, if down the track when the shortage really kicks in, then those smaller projects will struggle because they do need a skilled workforce,’ said AMEC chief executive Simon Bennison.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Adam December 10, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hello. My name is Adam. I work in Poland as an underground miner for 18 years. From 6 months trying to go leave the AU-sponsored visas. Any help is greatly appreciated. Regards.

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