Soaring commodity prices lead to increasing job vacancies in Australian mining sector

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 15:13:27|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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SYDNEY, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Job vacancies in Australia's mining sector have skyrocketed, according to online job site Seek which said figures rose 70 percent for May alone.

"From shutdown workers to drill and blast specialists, fitters and mechanics and engineers from all disciplines... They're now hiring," said Chris Kent, regional director of Hays Western Australia.

The reason for the uptick is due to stronger industrial commodity prices like copper, coal and iron ore.

"Commodity prices were hindering around their lowest point at the end of 2015 and early 2016," Westpac Bank senior economist Andrew Hanlan explained to Xinhua on Thursday.

"But if we step back from the month to month volatility... What we've seen is that the story since then has been a Chinese recovery after some weakness in supply and commodity prices."

"The prices now have tended to be much higher than that time and if you look at the Queensland economy or the Western Australian economy, you can see that conditions have either stabilized or improved."

Although the resurgence in the resources sector has renewed optimism in Australia's economy, certain skill shortages are emerging again, according to Hays.

"Since mass redundancies and the uncertainty of previous years drove much of the blue collar workforce into alternative industries closer to home, many were satisfied to trade reduced wages for improved lifestyles," Hays said in a quarterly report.

"This is particularly evident in locations such as North Queensland where many workers were expected to work on Drive in-Drive Out rosters, and it may be challenging to entice them back."

As a result, some employers are now considering candidates with no mining experience.

"This is expected to become more prevalent in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia," the report said.

"Workers who are new to the sector bring different ideas from other industries and should dilute what remains of the elevated earning expectations of those that only ever knew the boom times."

The mining sector is also making moves to further diversify the workforce and aim to employ more women and indigenous Australians.