Are you sure it’s safe to come out yet?

By on 23 January 2018


Let’s be honest, after all we’ve been through over the last four years, the Australian Mining Industry has been suffering from a collective state of anxiety. But there’s good news!

What we’re hearing here at Constructive in listening to our clients, candidates and talking to industry is a resounding “Yes! Come outside, there are plenty of friendly people out here.”

The banks are investing and even more tellingly, lending to the Australian Mining Industry again, big miners have exploration budgets again, the mid-tier miners and contractors are dipping their toes in the water again (truth be told, they’re out there swimming).

But most crucial of all, is this, we’re creating jobs and bringing highly skilled people back into our industry, more so than at any time in the last 5 years, truth be told.

So, is it safe to go outside? My answer is “Open the door and take a look. I think you’ll like what you see.”

Let’s have a look at the stats that back it all up…….

Current Market Overview – Mining Industry

All indicators suggest that the 4-5-year downturn that we’ve been experiencing within the mining industry is all but over, with all major indices forecasting solid growth in 2018 and beyond.

At Constructive we have heard predictions of growth in production of between 5 and 6 per cent in the current fiscal year and as expected, with an increase in production comes an increase in spending within maintenance and associated support industries.

With the solid prediction of a return to growth has come increased interest in investment from both private equity and the major banks, leading to a rise in investment in new projects and in turn we are starting to see the next phase of mining operations that were once in the “possible and likely” categories, now fall into the “underway” category.

We are also seeing the return of significant exploration budgets after experiencing the exploration spend in most organisations fall to its lowest level in over a decade in the last financial year. There is an expectation that this will increase by somewhere in the region of 25% in the following 5 years. IT is encouraging that this return to exploration activity is happening not only with the top tier operators but those from within the mid-tier; indicating an increase in feasibility and operational affordability.

Current Market Overview – Australian Employment

Sitting in line with the general industry overview there has been a rise across not only the traditional, Corporate, White Collar and Technical roles but also within blue collar positions across the entire country.

Towards the closing months of 2017 we saw an increase in Permanent vacancies year on year in the vicinity of 37%. There has been solid improvement in the larger mining states of Western Australia and Queensland. Interestingly Queensland has led the way in growth with a swing of around 7% in the second half of 2018.

In terms of what seems more positive, the Permanent or Contract / Temporary segments of the market? Permanent roles are leading the way with a significant increase leading into 2018 and Temporary / Contract job vacancies with a smaller yet still extremely encouraging percentage growth.

Whilst Western Australia’s mining market has seen a return to a strong position it’s market share has seen it regularly at 50% of national Mining production where we currently see this some 5% lower. The positive news in this being that Queensland has experienced stronger growth than usually expected but also positive results from NSW, SA and Victoria.

General Remuneration Insights – Australia

With this growth in industry activity has come growth in the needs for a skilled workforce, in simplistic terms this increase has resulted in demand for skilled candidates across C-Suite, Senior and Middle Management, Technical as well as support services, Trades and “Blue Collar” category roles.

Where efforts within a more depressed market to attract quality, candidates appeared to have been limited to improved working conditions i.e. better rosters, company culture initiatives, training programs, brand and career progression opportunities. The good news is these have remained, but salary has also increased accordingly with a national average year on year rise of 5.5% nationally.

The mining and resources industry has led the way across all sectors regarding an increase in remuneration.

Job remuneration increase for senior leadership roles have steadily been on the rise since the mid-point of 2017 with an approximate increase of 6% year-on-year and at around 5% for technical roles and a stand-out 12% increase within engineering. Blue collar, operator and Trades roles have not been left behind with a 6% year-on-year increase.

What also seems pertinent is a willingness for candidates to peak out and see what roles are out there on offer whereas over the previous 6 months there has been an understandable hesitancy to move anywhere.

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