Skills demand not abating for resources industry, with 24,000 new workers required

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

Mining staff

Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast: 2022-2027, released by AREEA today, breaks down the estimated labour required to operate new, expansion and restarted mining and oil and gas projects expected to enter production by December 2027.

The third annual edition in this series lists 107 projects as being either committed or advanced in feasibility and considered likely to proceed within the five-year period.

Coincidentally, the 24,000 forecasted new workforce demand is near identical to the January 2021 edition, however coming from a larger number of projects across a very different mix of commodities.

89 mining projects are included in the modelling, with coal (22) gold (21) and critical minerals (19) being the star performers. 18 oil and gas projects are also likely to proceed within the modelled period.

Demand is significantly frontloaded within 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 AM, said the industry would struggle to fulfill this new workforce 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 significant skills shortages at present, many would look to these new workforce projections with some trepidation,” Mr Knott said.

“Our industry is battling the worst skills crisis in a generation. This is threatening the continuity of existing operations, resulting in temporary or permanent production downgrades, and driving other workforce issues including historic levels of staff turnover.

“As of May 2022 the national resources sector directly employed more than 295,000 people, its highest ever recorded level. On these projections it will exceed the never-before-seen 300,000 mark sometime in 2023 and grow by another 8% to 2027.

To read the Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast: 2022-2027 go to the AREEA website here

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