Bump in WA engineer jobs
Engineers Australia says jobs are on the rise in WA.
Mining engineer advertisements in Western Australia have almost doubled over 12 months, the lobby says, signalling an increase in resource activity.
The WA resources sector has seen several years of downturn, during which jobs for engineers, geologists and others have often been scarce.
Engineers Australia’s latest Engineering Vacancies report says vacancies for mining engineers jumped to 188 in April 2017, up from a low of 101 in April 2016.
“In April 2017 there were more vacancies recorded for mining engineers than any other occupation in WA,” the report, based on Commonwealth Department of Employment figures, said.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief Simon Bennison said there had been some healthy investment in the sector.
“You're seeing quite a bit of activity in the merger and acquisitions phase, particularly in the situation of gold, where again you're seeing companies buy into smaller operations to get them through the development phase and up and into production,” Mr Bennison told reporters.
“I think that's creating opportunities for mining engineers and the other occupations like mining managers and so forth, that are associated with that transitional phase into production.”
Engineers Australia general manager WA Susan Kreemer Pickford said demand for engineers was still nowhere near the giddy heights of 2008 and 2012.
“At its peak in August 2012 there were 1,123 vacancies recorded for mining engineers,” she said.
“Between August 2012 and August 2013 mining vacancy numbers fell dramatically from 1,123 to 335.”
Professor Sam Spearing from the Curtin University's School of Mines said enrolments at the school had dropped by a third in the last two years.
He said it was partly due to media reports of the ongoing downturn.
“We will probably have a shortage as we move forward, because as I say, there is this bad press, which is, in my opinion, ridiculous,” he said.
He said another reason fewer students were signing up was because of the Government's decision to remove mining, metallurgy and petroleum off the skills occupation list last year, so foreign students could not apply for permanent residence.