The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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4 | ASIA Miner | Volume 14 • Issue 4 | 2017 A RECENT survey confirms that employment of resources profession- als is stabilising after an extended period of high unemployment during the downturn. The AusIMM Professional Employment Survey shows unemployment rates of Australia-based professionals working in the mining and resources sector have fallen from 14.1% in 2016 to 7.4% in 2017. This improvement in employment is coupled with a significant im- provement in industry outlook, with 65% of survey respondents antici- pating increased industry opportunity in the coming 12 months, com- pared to 29% in 2016. The survey is conducted annually and 2017 data was collected from 1955 AusIMM members in June and July. AusIMM is the peak body for professionals and managers in the resources sector and represents 13,000 members working in Australia and internationally. AusIMM CEO Stephen Durkin says the results align with a growing positive sentiment towards professional opportunities in the resourc- es sector. "Australia's mining industry is world-class, and our success is a credit to the talented professionals working in the sector. There are 65,000 professionals employed in the Australian mining industry, a sector that contributes A$236 billion, or 15% of GDP, to the economy. "It is encouraging to see such a strong uplift in employment and op- portunities for our members and resources professionals as a whole after what has been a very difficult few years for the industry. There are many positive signs that the sector, which is so important to the pros- perity of our nation, is returning to good health," he says. Despite the overall improvement, there are sectors of the industry that are lagging. In Western Australia, unemployment remains higher than the rest of the country at 9.0%. Unemployment amongst professionals working primarily in iron ore also remained high at 14.4%, compared to other commodities such as copper or coal that recorded low rates at 3.5% and 3.9% respectively. "While the overall rate of employment has improved significantly, there is a fragmentation with some sectors and regions continuing to report high rates," Stephen Durkin says. Survey results also indicated some key differences in employment and remuneration based on gender, with a remarkably low unemploy- ment rate for female resources professionals of 3.7% compared to 8.1% for male professionals. While employment of female professionals, who make up approxi- mately 15% of the workforce, has improved, there remains a significant remuneration gap. Female AusIMM members reported lower wages than male counterparts in all career stages except graduate level. "This gap in remuneration is an issue of concern for the AusIMM, as diversity within the sector is vital to our ongoing success and growth. Together with our Women in Mining Network (WIMnet), we will continue to champion diversity and inclusion throughout the industry to support increased participation and gender equity, reflecting the broader com- munity in which we work," Stephen Durkin adds. Significant improvement in employment prospects for geoscientists in Australia's exploration and mining industry during the first quarter of 2017 is no longer evident, according to a survey by the Austra- lian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) for the quarter ending June 30. During the June quarter, geoscientist employment across Australia only improved marginally compared to the March quarter. The AIG survey indicates that the unemployment rate amongst Australia's geoscientists at June 30 was 11.3%. The corresponding underemployment rate was 19.0%. This represents a welcome but small decrease in unemployment, down from 12.1% at the end of March 2017, offset by an increase in the underemployment rate from 18.3%. Australia's self-employed geoscientists, independent contractors and consultants, continue to face difficult times with only half able to secure 25% of their desired workload. The employment situation varies markedly between industry sec- tors. Unemployment in mineral and energy resource exploration was 14.2%, compared to 6.9% in mineral and energy resource min- ing and production. The unemployment rate amongst geoscientists working in other fields, such as environmental geoscience, ground- water resource management, engineering geology, education and agriculture, was 4.0%. Unemployment and underemployment rates varied significantly between states. Unemployment was highest in Western Austra- lia at 12.3%, the only state in which unemployment increased. South Australia recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 4.2% and the greatest improvement in the unemployment rate. Under- employment was lowest in Western Australia, highest in South Australia and worsened in every state except Western Australia and Queensland. Long-term unemployment decreased but remains a serious con- cern, with more than 60% of unemployed and underemployed not confident of returning to work within the next 12 months. More than 13% of unemployed geoscientists regained employment during the quarter, but this was more than offset by those losing employment. Sentiment amongst geoscientists in employment improved, with more than half indicating that they were confident of remaining in employment for the next 12 months or more. Almost 20% of unem- ployed and underemployed geoscientists indicated that they were seeking to leave their profession, up 4%. Geoscientist employment recovery slows Employment in resources improving

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