Mining jobs in Australia to stage a comeback

Mining-related employment in Australia is expected to grow 11% in the next five years thanks mainly to the iron ore and liquefied natural gas (LNG) sectors, says a recent study published by research firm BIS Shrapnel.

In its Mining in Australia 2013-2028 report, the analysts predict exports of those two commodities will continue to increase in coming years, bolstering the resource industry’s GDP share from 18.7% to 19.8%.

While the mining investment boom peaked in 2012/13 and is forecast to decline 20% over the next five years, the report highlights that mining production is poised to grow 41% in the same period, driving commensurate increases in mining operations activities, maintenance and exports.

The study also suggests that several jobs will be created in other related industries, such as construction.

“With respect to the mining boom, it’s probably fair to say that this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. Over the next five years the strong boost from mining production will more than offset the economic negatives from falling mining investment, which will flow through to construction and manufacturing,” says the report.

While employment levels across the resource industry are expected to fluctuate greatly, increased productivity levels will complement the slowing job creation, it adds.

“Miners will continue to be squeezed by lower commodity prices and a high Australian dollar over the next few years,” says Adrian Hart, Senior Manager of BIS Shrapnel’s Infrastructure and Mining Unit. “[But] given the strong increases in production expected, this translates to a 60% labour productivity surge over the next five years.”