Specialist Engineers with specific experience in the fields of Safety, Reliability, Business Improvement, Mechanical, Electrical and Mining Engineering – These engineers are in demand as employers seek to improve operational standards, efficiency and safety at their mining operations. .
Maintenance Planners – Maintenance Planners that can be located in regional centres such as the Bowen Basin are in demand as companies are looking to reduce their FIFO workforce.
Electrical / Mechanical Engineers – In particular those that have mineral processing plant maintenance experience, higher production pressure means that processing plants must optimize their operational time and keep their down time to a minimum. As above, those engineers that can reside in regional areas are sought after.
Iron experienced candidates – Due to the rise in production of iron ore, candidates that have experience related to this commodity are in demand. Operators, Process Engineers and Supervisors are all sought after.
Reliability Engineers – There has always been a shortage of Reliability Engineers in maintenance departments as many engineers have progressed their career in other directions, towards projects or design. Reliability Centered Maintenance is still a relatively new methodology for some operations so proven previous expertise in this area is in demand.
Experienced Shutdown Planners – Most candidates opt for maintenance planning over shutdown planning due to the high pressure and fast turnaround times involved with shutdowns. However, quality shutdown planning is a crucial skill-set and is always in demand.
Around Australia, despite a continued lull in hiring across the mining industry, pockets of activity in some areas around the states are having a positive influence on hiring decisions.
Within the Northern Territory we have seen an increase in demand for trades and labour candidates from mining contractors. This quarter we expect to see an increase in Northern Territory candidates due to Rio Tinto‘s announcement that it is suspending its alumina refinery operations in Gove. There are currently 1500 employed at the refinery.
Employers are ideally looking for local candidates who can drive-in drive-out (DIDO) to site as FIFO is too expensive and coal production companies are still cutting costs in Queensland. Most roles released are temporary/contract opportunities.
In Western Australia, we have seen an increase in recruitment over the past few months due to an increase in demand from the iron ore industry. Where previously there was a shortage of experienced gold candidates, the commodity focus has now definitely shifted to iron ore, where there is demand for Process Engineers, Crusher Operators, Mining Engineers and Supervisors remains relatively high.
Although there has been a slight up-swing in hiring, we don't foresee the resources industry returning to the boom days in the near future. We are not seeing a drop in salaries, but offers are at the lower end of the spectrum.