WA mining sector digging deep for skilled workforce

mining engineering skills shortage

Western Australia’s mining and resources sector is crying out for skilled workers – and new grads are earning six-figure starting salaries

Western Australia’s mining and resources sector is facing a deepening skills shortage, and could need another 40,000 workers over the next two years, according to Western Australia’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME).

A “perfect storm” of factors has caused the skills shortage, including reduced skilled migration and workforce mobility due to COVID-19, and competition for skilled workers from other large-scale government construction and infrastructure projects.

And this lack of supply is in the face of huge demand: there is currently a whopping $140 billion pipeline of projects in the sector, representing “opportunities that won’t be fully realised unless we can gain access to the right people with the right skills at the right time,” says CME Chief Executive Paul Everingham.

The sector is looking for people in a diverse range of roles, including:

  • Mining Engineers
  • Metallurgists
  • Underground surveyors
  • Civil, electrical and mechanical engineers
  • Geologists
  • Geophysicists
  • Auto electricians
  • Diesel fitters
  • Mechanical fitters
  • Boiler makers
  • Welders
  • Drillers

According to a recent ABC report, the skills shortage is seeing new grads of mining engineering and related degrees being wined and dined by the industry and courted by employers long before they’ve graduated. And they are spoilt for choice when it comes to job opportunities, often graduating on six-figure salaries.

One fourth-year mining engineering student at Curtin University’s Kalgoorlie campus told the ABC he already has six job offers, and has settled on a role with South African mining giant Gold Fields for a starting salary of $110,000 per year. “The mining industry is thirsty for us,” he said.

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Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.

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