Employers’ group warns of impending shortage of resource workers

Australia’s resources and energy industry will conservatively need an additional 24,000 workers by the end of 2027, according to new modeling released by the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association.

Released today, its Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast: 2022-2027 report breaks down the estimated workforce needed to operate new, expansion and restarted mining, oil and gas projects that are expected to enter production by December. 2027.

The third annual edition of this series lists 107 projects as committed or advanced in feasibility and considered likely to materialize over the five-year period.

Coincidentally, the forecasted new labor demand of 24,000 is almost identical to the January 2021 edition, but comes from a larger number of projects in a very different mix of products.

A total of 89 mining projects are included in the modelling, with coal (22), gold (21) and critical minerals (19) performing the best.

Demand is significantly concentrated over the five-year period, with 69 projects requiring 15,000 new workers expected to come online by the end of 2024.

AREEA chief executive Steve Knott said the industry would struggle to meet this new labor demand without “creative solutions and a coordinated response”.

“While we will always celebrate the strength of the industry and the jobs and other benefits that come with increased project investment, given the current significant skills shortages, many would view these new workforce projections with some apprehension,” he said.

“Our industry is facing the worst skills crisis in a generation. This threatens the continuity of existing operations, leading to temporary or permanent production declines and leading to other labor issues, including historic levels of staff turnover.

“As of May 2022, the national resources sector directly employed more than 295,000 people, its highest level on record. According to these projections, it will exceed the unprecedented mark of 300,000 in 2023 and will increase by another 8% until 2027.

“With vacancy levels also at record highs and showing no signs of slowing down, we don’t expect the industry’s existing workforce to offer any real relief from this projected future demand, per for example through planned project closures or reductions The demand for skilled labor will far outstrip the supply.

“Simply, unless industry and government come up with creative solutions, the skills crisis facing not just the resource and energy industry, but all sectors of the Australian economy, will persist. for years.

“Industry is ready and willing to work with government, unions and other stakeholders on a myriad of initiatives, from training and reforming the VET system to streamlining skilled migration processes . We must rise to this challenge or risk losing some of these long-term national opportunities.

Knott said the report was also an important reminder of the longevity of the resource industry and its “enormous role” in sustaining Australia’s standard of living and general well-being.

“In terms of total employment, when taking into account its impacts on flows, the resource and energy industry is responsible for more than one million jobs directly and indirectly,” he said. -he declares.

“The 24,000 additional labor requirements estimated in this report are baseline projections on projects already underway or advanced in planning. These projects alone would also bring $130 billion in new capital investment to our country.