New report lists skills currently most in demand in mining
A preference for employing temporary workers is an emerging trend in the Australian resources sector, according to the latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots report that lists the skills currently most in demand by mining companies.
Mobile Crusher Operators, Mechanical Fitters and Fixed Plant Maintenance Electricians are three of the skills that top the list along with Contract Maintenance Planners and Engineers.
The report states that the hiring of temporary workers, “…allows more flexibility as demands can change quickly across the industry.”
“Candidate levels have increased as some smaller contractors have closed, and owner miners are taking back their operations.”
“In the Northern Territory we have seen a slight increase in activity for technical positions in resources and mining. The preference is still for local candidates based in Darwin.”
“In South Australia, some redundancies and restructures have taken place, which has had a knock-on effect to smaller contractors. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the contract jobs market for both technical and trades roles will continue to rise. With scheduled maintenance shutdowns and Hill Side Greenfields projects coming on line in 2014, the contract labour market will remain active.”
“There is also a trend of mining candidates moving into the oil and gas industry.”
Highlights of the Hotspots Report:
Mobile Crusher Operators – Given the lack of training in the industry for this particular skill set, there is a supply shortage of Mobile Crusher Operators.
Mechanical Fitters – The need to make constant mechanical upgrades, in addition to owner operators taking over from contractors, has fueled demand for Mechanical Fitters.
Fixed Plant Maintenance Electricians – A high number of candidates have left the resources and mining sector in order to pursue higher salaries and better rosters in the construction industry. Consequently there is a shortage of suitable candidates in this area.
Process Operators – Again we are seeing a supply shortage, with a lack of candidates with wet process experience to suit the local iron ore industry.
Reliability Engineers – Maintenance specialists with experience in the Australian mining sector are in short supply.
Shutdown Planners – Highly organised and meticulous Planners with specific mineral process plant shutdown experience are always in demand, particularly as maintenance costs are closely examined.
Mine Engineers and Mine Geologists – Employers are looking for candidates with hands-on site experience who are available for contract work. Companies with production drives or that are increasing production need these professionals on a contract basis, but rarely are they available at short notice.
Fixed Plant Trainers – Capable fixed plant operator trainers with practical experience are in high demand to ensure competency in the next generation of operators. It is rare that senior operators become trainers, with most instead becoming supervisors, Hence there is a shortage of suitable candidates.
Electrical Engineers – Candidates with fixed plant maintenance experience rather than plant design experience are sought for in-house maintenance roles on the large processing plants and refineries.
Contract Maintenance Planners – Many maintenance crews are now servicing the same amount of equipment but with significantly fewer members on their team. As a result, they require strict maintenance plans in place to ensure all maintenance activities are executed as efficiently as possible. Therefore good Planners are highly sort after to maximize a crew’s performance.
Contract A & I Engineers – Companies are looking to cut costs where possible and are therefore employing Analysis and Improvement Engineers who can identify opportunities to reduce downtime and maximize productivity and reliability amongst operations.
Contract Mining Engineers – Good Mining Engineers have always been a must for operations and now employers are looking for contract engineers so that they have greater support for projects when required. Candidates are open to such project-specific opportunities.
Contract Process Engineers – Candidates with extensive processing plant experience are highly sort after as higher production means that processing plants must optimize their operational time and keep their downtime to a minimum.
Contract Mechanical Engineers – Mechanical Engineers in regional areas such as the Bowen Basin are in high demand as companies look to reduce their FIFO workforce.
Geologists – With employers still focused on growing strong teams and continuing their exploration activities, demand has increased for experienced Geologists. Employers are recruiting these candidates on a contract basis.
Fitters/Trades Assistants – The need to ensure the ongoing reliability and efficiency of equipment has seen several site based opportunities arise, particularly on quarry sites. The focus is on securing experienced contractors including individuals looking to return to Victoria after working interstate for several years.
Contract Maintenance Planners/Schedulers – Due to cost cutting exercises, there is a high demand for improved efficiency for fixed plant maintenance.
Crusher Operators – There is a shortage of Crusher Operators in South Australia, since most of these candidates have relocated interstate where they can achieve higher wages.
Rubber Liners – The lack of training and apprenticeships has led to this skills shortage. In addition, most good Liners have retained work interstate.