What will a predicted extra 20,000 mining workers mean for organisations?


A recent report by the Australian Resources and Energy Group has predicted that more than 20,000 extra workers will be needed in the mining industry by 2024.

This includes nearly 9000 plant operators; over 2800 heavy diesel fitters; over 4000 supervisors and other white-collar roles; over 400 engineers, technicians, geologist and related roles; and over 900 other trades, such as electrical, mechanical and maintenance workers.

The Australian Government has strategised “major reforms” to the vocational education and training sector, such as a regional apprenticeship wage subsidy trial and a review of the National Skills Needs List, to help supply for increased demand. However, there is also an increasing responsibility on employers to ensure they plan appropriately for the expected number of future jobs.

To effectively manage the increased demand for skilled workers, employers must begin to focus their sourcing strategy and should:

1. Encourage professionals to return to the industry

As the last mining boom plateaued, many professionals sought alternative employment in other industries, such as construction. Now, with the returning need for mining workers, employers should capitalise on well-educated, experienced individuals that moved away from the mining industry by encouraging and facilitating inter-sector labour mobility. 

2. Develop and upskill existing specialists

By upskilling existing specialists and retraining them to operate autonomously, employers will reap the benefits of increased knowledge in other specialisms such as remote operations, automation, data analytics, remote communication and AI. They are also then more likely to attract and retain external in-demand specialists through their demonstrated investment in training and development.

3. Consider hiring talent from overseas

Given the need for specialised talent in a candidate short Australian market, employers may want to consider extending their search internationally. With a dedicated international candidate management function that focuses solely on sourcing international talent, Robert Walters can help Australian employers in finding candidates for hard to fill roles that cannot be sourced locally. 

4. Partner with a recruitment consultancy

With skills shortages likely to be largely prevalent over the next 5 years, partnering with a recruitment consultancy with both a local and international view of talent flow and market knowledge will be beneficial to help ensure employers are connected with the right skilled professionals for the jobs needed within the market. 


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