The Labour Force Outlook in the Minerals Resources Sector, 2005 to 2015

The Labour Force Outlook in the Minerals Resources Sector, 2005 to 2015 Report

  • Author(s): Lowry, D., Molloy, S., Tan, Y.
  • Published: 2006
  • Publisher: National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University of South Australia

Abstract: This report documents research that aimed to project the key skills required by the minerals sector for major commodities in Australia from 2005 to 2015 and was based on predicted production levels to 2015. It also examined the capacity of the economy to respond to increased future labour demand from the minerals sector. All regions and States of Australia were included for the major commodities of iron ore, coal, bauxite/alumina, gold, nickel, lead/zinc, copper and uranium. The following key questions were addressed: For each State and for each major commodity, what is the projected demand for labour over the next 10 years? What are the key skills that will be required in each of the main commodities and different operational activities over the next 10 years? What is the projected supply of labour at a national level to 2015, and how does this compare to projected labour demand within the minerals sector? The research found that labour shortages are likely to significantly impede the growth of the mineral sector over the next decade. It suggests that the sector is facing is ‘a people shortage rather than a skills shortage per se’ and will need to attract people to the industry. It recommends that the industry would need to: promote a broader understanding of the aspects of the labour shortage to foster broader support for policies to deal with the problem; investigate ways of accommodating pressure on compression of wage differentials especially between professional and non-professional employees; focus on the development of appropriate training systems, with a particular emphasis on designing systems for quality on-the-job training provision; identify and target alternative labour reservoirs to meet the large shortfall of workers, e.g. available labour with broadly compatible skill sets from the declining manufacturing sector, women, people in rural, regional and remote communities, including Indigenous communities, living close to mining sites, and imported labour from outside of Australia, although the long-term implications of this must be investigated and should not replace the development of the local workforce. It also recommends that the resources sector develop an understanding and expertise in determinants of labour supply in the Australian economy. The report outlines the methodology and assumptions used in calculating the employment estimates, draws on the BIS Shrapnel forecasts to explore the different commodity groups and provide an overview of employment growth to 2015, provides information on the number of people required in the sector by 2015, broken down by the major commodity groups and operational activities, and skills that are likely be required, and examines the capacity of the economy-wide labour market (supply indicator) to respond to the demand for labour within the minerals resources sector.

Notes: The Australian Government contracted the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia Inc (CME), in partnership with the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), to conduct a project examining the current and future skills needs of the mining industry. This report is one of three final reports from this project; the other reports are indexed at TD/TNC 87.189 and TD/TNC 89.190.

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Suggested Citation
Lowry, D., Molloy, S., Tan, Y., 2006, The Labour Force Outlook in the Minerals Resources Sector, 2005 to 2015, Report, viewed 13 August 2022,

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