Employer group warns of looming resources worker shortage

27 July, 2022

It is estimated the will be a resources worker shortage as 24,000 workers will be needed by the end of 2027.

According to the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association, this is the estimated labour required to operate new, expansion and restarted mining and oil and gas projects expected to enter production by December 2027.

There are estimated to be 107 projects to begin within the five year period. Coincidentally the estimated number of workers forecasted is near identical to the January 2021 predictions.

Coal, gold and critical minerals will be the star performers of the upcoming projects.

15,000 new workers are estimated to be required by the end of 2024. According to AREEA chief executive Steve Knott the industry will struggle to fulfill this new workforce demand without “creative solutions and a coordinated response”.

“Our industry is battling the worst skills crisis in a generation. This is threatening the continuity of existing operations, resulting in temporary or permanent production downgrades, and driving other workforce issues including historic levels of staff turnover.

“As of May 2022, the national resources sector directly employed more than 295,000 people, its highest ever recorded level. On these projections it will exceed the never-before-seen 300,000 mark sometime in 2023 and grow by another 8 per cent to 2027.

“With vacancy levels also at record highs and not showing any signs of easing, we do not expect the industry’s existing labour force to offer any real relief to this forecasted future demand, for example through planned project closures or reductions. Demand for skilled labour will far outstrip supply.

“Simply, unless industry and government can find some creative solutions, the skills crisis facing not only the resources and energy industry but all sectors of the Australian economy, will persist for years to come.

“The industry is ready and willing to work with government, unions and other stakeholders on a myriad of initiatives, ranging from training and VET system reform to streamlining skilled migration processes. We must front up to this challenge or risk losing some of these long-term national opportunities.”

Australia’s living standards and general wellbeing are substantially stood up by the resources industry. The resources industry is responsible for over one million jobs directly and indirectly.

The estimated mining and resources projects alone would bring $130 billion in new capital investment to our country.

This article is an extract from Australian Mining.

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