A report from the National Skills Commission outlines Western Australia is projected to have the largest increase in mining employment within Australia over the next 4 years, and second largest job growth for any sector within the state.
The data underpinning the report details mining employment in WA is expected to increase 13.7 per cent from November 2020 to November 2025, which is above the national mining average (8.3 per cent). Whereas mining employment growth in Queensland is projected increase to just under the national average at 8.0 per cent, with the next highest increases seen in South Australia (1.7 per cent) and Victoria (0.9 per cent). State and Territories projected to contract in mining employment over the five-year period include the Northern Territory (down 6.5 per cent), Tasmania (down 2.6 per cent), and New South Wales (down 1.9 per cent).
Looking within Western Australia, the projected mining employment growth represents the second largest contribution within the State, with the Health Care and Social Assistance sector leading at 14.5 per cent projected State growth. The Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services is also expected to be a high performer (12 per cent growth), whereas the Construction sector is projected to have marginal growth (0.4 per cent) over the five-year period. Of interest, the growth in the Health Care sector is broad-based across Australia and its strength is in part, attributed to its’ protection from most COVID related employment losses, holding some similarity to the State’s resources sector.
In relation to skills, more than nine-in-ten new jobs are projected to require post-school qualifications, demonstrating skill development and training are becoming increasingly vital. Employment is projected to increase across all eight of the broad occupational groups and all five national skill levels, and the greatest growth is expected in skill level 1 occupations (Managers and Professionals). Specifically, employment within STEM skill level 1 occupations is projected to grow by 12.9 per cent by November 2025, which is well above the ‘all occupation’s averages’ growth (7.8 per cent) and more than twice as fast as non-STEM occupation growth (6.2 per cent), according to the report. Additionally, whilst subdued employment growth (3.6 per cent) is projected for skill level 3 occupations, importantly almost two-thirds (65.3 per cent) of this is delivered by the Technician and Trade Workers occupation group.
As the National Skills Commission report underlines, securing a workforce with the appropriate skills and qualifications is of critical importance to Australia’s future growth and prosperity. Equally, an education and training sector which is nimble and able to swiftly respond to the critical needs of industry must remain a shared priority.
With $140 Billion of projects in the pipeline across the WA resources sector, the cooperation of Government, training and education stakeholders, and industry, is fundamentally important to ensure the full development and utilisation of the skills capability of existing workers (including upskilling and cross-skilling), alongside increased workforce mobility - both domestic and international - to offset the quantum of skills shortages forecast into the future.
The Resources Industry Training Council (RITC) will continue to its role in facilitating targeted responses to address the near- and longer-term skills demands for the sector.