Mining shows strong recovery as permanent roles increase

National new job ads recorded a year on year (YoY) rise of 10.7 per cent in May according to the latest data from SEEK. The industry that recorded the largest positive growth in job ads this month was Mining, Resources and Energy which saw a 34 per cent increase in May when compared to this time last year. This was closely followed by Government and Defence where job ads were up 29 per cent YoY, and Community Services and Development, which recorded a 26 per cent increase in job ads compared to twelve months ago.

New job ads in Community Services and Development grew in almost every state, the highest growth was recorded in South Australia (39 per cent YoY), followed by Queensland (37 per cent YoY) and Victoria (28 per cent YoY). Despite lower growth (23 per cent YoY), New South Wales was the biggest contributor to the sector this month.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director ANZ, SEEK, said: “The Community Services and Development sector has enjoyed strong job ad growth in recent months. As well as seeing the third biggest job ad growth in May, the sector experienced the second highest growth nationally in April, with job ads up 49 per cent compared to April 2017.”

Kendra points to the national roll out of the NDIS having an ongoing positive impact on job ad growth in this sector. “The growth in Community Services and Development sector continues to be driven by roles in aged care and disability support as the NDIS is rolled out across the country.”

The industries that saw a decrease in job ads compared to May 2017 were Real Estate and Property and Advertising, Arts and Media, which both saw job ads fall 9 per cent YoY. Both sectors have been struggling recently, with Advertising, Arts and Media jobs falling in almost every month of 2018.

Kendra said: “Continued job cuts across Australia’s media landscape in the last twelve months appear to be having a detrimental impact on the sector, with job ads decreasing in every month this year except April. With more job cuts announced in June this trend is likely set to continue.”

Retail & Consumer Products job ads also took a dip in May, posting a decline of 5 per cent YoY compared to May 2017. Despite the sector posting better than expected sales in April, the ABS reports that it has been an overall slow year for the retail sector, with sales only growing 2.6 per cent in the 12 months to April 20181.

Kendra added: “A lot of retail growth appears to be driven by online players, with online competition in the sector heating up. This could have an effect on the number of new jobs opportunities available on the shop floor with bricks and mortar retail struggling to find its footing in an increasingly digital world.”

Figure 1. SEEK new job ads


Nationally SEEK job ads in the mining sector increased 34 per cent YoY in May, building on the substantial pick up in job ads since 2016 when the sector began to recover after four years of decline.

Mining is the third largest contributor to the Australian economy, behind Services and Construction, contributing for 6.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product2. The sector currently employs approximately 226,500 people (ABS trend data), full time and part time, which is around 1.8 per cent of the total workforce in Australia.

Figure 2. SEEK job ads in mining have experienced significant pick up since 2016


This positive growth in job ads since 2016 can be found across both the mining states (NT, QLD, WA, NSW) and non-mining states (VIC, SA, TAS). The number of yearly opportunities in the mining states has increased by an average of 93 per cent from their low in 2016 and 109 per cent in the non-mining states in the same period.

Figure 3. Pick up in job ads in the mining and non-mining states since 2016


During the mining downturn between 2012 and 2016, alongside the loss of 55,000 jobs (ABS), there was a reluctance to hire permanent staff in the sector, with the ratio of contract to permanent job ads climbing steeply. However, SEEK’s data now shows that this trend is reversing: since mid-2016 the number of permanent job ads has been increasing, which suggests a renewed confidence in the sector.

Figure 4. The rise and fall of contractor SEEK job ads in mining (demonstrating industry confidence as more permanent roles being advertised)

There has also been a shift in the type of jobs being advertised when you compare job ad data from 2018 to job ads during the 2012 boom. There is a notable increase in Opex over Capex related job ads that reflects wider industry trends.

Kaixin Owyong, an Economist from NAB comments on this shift of focus from Capex to Opex hiring: “During the mining boom, there was a huge amount of investment that significantly increased the mining capital stock. This phase also required more exploratory roles for potential greenfields investment. Immediately after the boom, mining firms were focusing on keeping costs low, and put off maintenance work. However, more recently, commodity prices have lifted and firms are spending again on maintenance roles, which are needed to keep the (much larger) capital stock running.”

Figure 5. The shift from Capex to Opex related roles in mining

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About the SEEK Employment Report

The SEEK Employment Report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Employment Marketplace. The report includes the SEEK Employment Index (SEI), which is the first Australia aggregate indicator to measure the interaction between labour market supply and labour market demand. It also includes the SEEK New Job Ad Index which measures only new job ads posted within the reported month to provide a clean measure of demand for labour across all classifications.

SEEK’s total job ad volume (not disclosed in this report) includes duplicated job advertisements and refreshed job ads. As a result, the SEEK New Job Ad Index does not always match the movement in SEEK’s total job ad volume.

Disclaimer: The Data should be viewed and regarded as standalone information and should not be aggregated with any other information whether such information has been previously provided by SEEK Limited, ("SEEK"). The Data is given in summary form and whilst care has been taken in its preparation, SEEK makes no representations whatsoever about its completeness or accuracy. SEEK expressly bears no responsibility or liability for any reliance placed by you on the Data, or from the use of the Data by you. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately.

About SEEK

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK operates across 18 countries with exposure to over 4 billion people and 28 per cent of GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 50 company with a market capitalisation close to A$6billion and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies Globally by Forbes, and Number One in Australia.