Skills demand stays strong

A LABOUR market index launched by industry employer group Australian Mines and Metals Association shows construction labour requirements on Australia’s mining, energy and infrastructure projects will peak at nearly 100,000 workers in 2013.
Skills demand stays strong Skills demand stays strong Skills demand stays strong Skills demand stays strong Skills demand stays strong


Sheryl Lafferty

Speaking at the Mining Skills Australia summit in Sydney yesterday, AMMA group services director Tara Diamond announced the first biannual AMMA-Pit Crew labour market index.

“This unique industry tool details the labour demands for major Australian resource and infrastructure projects, breaking down specific areas of the skills shortage and capital investment state by state,” she said.

“This index shows that while construction workforce numbers are coming off a massive peak in 2012, during 2013 Australia will still see 98,869 people walk through the gate of a major resources, energy or infrastructure project.”

In developing the first biannual labour index, Diamond explained that Pit Crew modelled 422 resources, energy and infrastructure projects within the Australian market, uncovering a total capital value of $728.8 billion.

Approximately 259 projects were approved with a value of $446.4 billion, while a pipeline of 163 less-advanced projects is poised to deliver another $282.4 billion of investment.

“LNG investment is having the most significant impact on the demand for labour and, despite the need for urgent policy action to address productivity and cost pressures, employment numbers are still set to increase over 2013 towards an expected peak in 2014,” Diamond said.

“The index also shows that while Queensland and Western Australia are home to the majority of major projects, the Northern Territory will experience the greatest labour shortages.

“Labour demand for the Northern Territory’s emerging resource industry will peak at 5644 skilled construction and trade workers in the coming year but availability risks being just half of that.

“The ability to meet this demand requires a collaborative approach to facilitate greater domestic labour mobility between states and ongoing investment in training and skills development.”

The index draws from the labour forecasting system developed by specialist firm Pit Crew Management Consulting.

The Pit Crew modelling reveals Australia’s resource employers will experience a potential skills shortage of 4000 specialist welders and boilermakers as the mechanical phases of major LNG projects ramp up.

Other skills shortages during 2013 include:

  • Pipe fitters
  • Mechanical fitters
  • Electrical trades
  • Crane operators
  • Riggers and scaffolders
  • Production managers
  • Experienced production operators;
  • Engineering technicians.

“Pit Crew and AMMA have formed a strategic relationship to provide an updated labour market index twice a year,” Pit Crew managing director Peter Dyball said.

“Our modelling includes a range of infrastructure projects which also draw upon the resource industry’s construction labour pool.

“These projects include roads, power stations, port facilities, hospitals and public rail infrastructure.

“In addition to the construction labour, as these projects head towards completion they are ramping up an operations workforce, which will also require offsite support services.”

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