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Mining sector unemployment triple national average


The Australian mining industry has taken hit after hit with jobs being slashed on a regular basis, but a new report has revealed just how much the industry is suffering.

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), have released annual survey results highlighting an alarming increase in unemployment amongst highly trained and skilled minerals industry professionals.

The report,  which showed results from 2266 people surveyed, found 16.2 per cent of Australia’s mining professionals are now out of work, up from 12.2 per cent last year, and a massive jump from 1.7 per cent in 2012.

AusIMM president Rex Berthelsen said the survey results reflected the hard reality for many mining professionals who have lost their jobs.

“Many of us have spent our careers in mining and we have experienced cycles and job losses before, but few can remember worse times and as an institute, we are alarmed at the loss of good people who may not return and can never be replaced,” Mr Berthelsen said.

“We are also concerned that a whole level of experienced managers is being removed, leaving the industry at risk of losing its ability to innovate and pursue continuous improvements in safety and environmental performance.”

AusIMM CEO Michael Catchpole said the survey shows alarming increases in unemployment.

“The continued turbulence and resulting loss of skills creates major risks for the future of the Australian mining sector and for the Australian economy,” Mr Catchpole said.

“This sector underpinned years of economic growth and supported Australia’s economy through the global financial crisis. Government now needs to ramp up support for skills development, research, innovation and productivity improvements to maintain Australia’s position not just as a commodities exporter, but a leading exporter of skills, technology and equipment to the global mining industry.”

The report also found:

  • Overall, 16.4 per cent of the workforce experienced a redundancy in the previous 12 months; more than 80 per cent of these redundancies were forced.
  • Minerals production roles, including mining engineers, metallurgical engineers and geotechnical engineers, have faced the largest year-on-year increase in unemployment, although geoscientists were the first groups affected by the downturn.
  • Almost one-quarter of Australia’s iron ore mining professionals (24.4 per cent) are currently unemployed, reflecting significant job cuts in that sector despite increased volumes of iron ore going to market.
  • Employment volatility is increasing and opportunities decreasing: 16.4 per cent of mining professionals have been made redundant, and 18.3 per cent of employed mining professionals have changed employers in the last year.
  • Almost 30 per cent of unemployed mining professionals are now long-term unemployed (that is, unemployed for 12 months or more). Many are seeking employment outside the mining industry and may never return to the sector.

To view the full AusIMM Professional Employment Survey results, click here.

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