Gradual uptick to WA-based mining engineering jobs
There’s growing evidence that a revival of fortunes within some pockets of the resources sector – which hit rock bottom in 2013 following the unwinding of the once-in-a-century mining boom – will see the biggest corresponding uptick in engineering jobs.
Much of the uptick in demand for engineers can be attributed to activity within West Australia’s iron ore sector, where the number of available (engineering) jobs has jumped 33 percent over the past 12 months. According to Engineering Australia (EA), the number of WA-based engineering jobs jumped from 562 in January to 746 in June 2018.
Having concluded that the boom-bust cycle experienced by the mining sector a decade ago was no good for the sector, Brent Jackson of EA says WA is currently experiencing what he regards as a period of far more sustainable growth.
A rebound within WA’s mining sector is also expected to provide a welcomed kicker to state’s civil engineering sector which remains relatively depressed. The single biggest driver of demand for engineering skills will be the renewed investment in mining construction, especially within infrastructure projects.
Brendon Marsh of BJ Marsh Pty Ltd expects a sustained pick-up in mining infrastructure investment to eventually flow on to the broader WA economy, with demand for real estate likely to be an early beneficiary.
The uptick in demand for mining engineers has seen a 40 percent jump in job-site postings over the last 12 months, and this is expected to push wages higher. Much of the growing demand for mining engineers can be attributed to new iron ore projects.
But despite the uptick in mining jobs in WA, engineering jobs within the state remain considerably harder to find than in NSW and Victoria, where most of the jobs are in civil engineering. The same trend is also evident in Qld where civil engineering jobs are up from 662 a year ago to 905 in June 2018.
Given the gradual uptick within WA’s mining sector, the fall in applications for university places in engineering courses is concerning, with a future talent squeeze adding upward pressure in wage growth.