Random Analytics: Mining Workforce Planning Environmental Scan (Nov 2012)

by Shane Granger

Here is the latest Australian Mining Workforce Planning Environmental Scan updated to the end of Nov 2012.

MiningEnviroScanNov12

Figure 1: Australian Mining Workforce Planning Environmental Scan 2012 (Jan-Nov). Data sourced from Australian Mining Newsletter & News Archive. Some stories have been verified against primary resources (i.e. ASX, commercial websites and other news agencies).

Like the previous month, the most prominent Workforce Planning story and issue for November was employment. If you look at the data I present in Figure 1 you might consider this was a fait-accompli but the first story on employment (which was positive) didn’t come about until the 7th November and by mid-month only six stories were on the book. Most of the employment stories (19/25), which have been mainly negative, actually came about in the second half of the month.

This is the fifth straight month where employment stories have dominated. In the month of November there were 25 unique employment stories, with 18 being negative (with 1,071 confirmed jobs losses) and 7-positive stories (1,237 confirmed jobs gained).

The further breakdown of Employment stories for July through to November (as per the yellow data line):

  • July: 25.9% (61.9% negative, 38.1% positive);
  • Aug: 35.4% (71.4% negative, 28.6% positive);
  • Sep: 44.8% (76.9% negative, 17.9% positive and 5.2% neutral);
  • Oct: 35.8% (83.3% negative, 16.7% positive);
  • Nov: 32.9% (72% negative, 28 % positive).

The updated data really does show an industry trying to do any last tidying up prior to the Christmas break. 35-jobs gone at Grasstree, QLD and the 13-jobs lost at Bengalla, NSW are good examples of mid-tier and large companies cutting labour costs. What should be added is that I have not seen a lot of stories in relation to the contracting companies and their labour issues. No doubt they wouldn’t like this information in the public sphere.

A better idea of what the Australian mining industry employment story has been like at a macro level will become apparent when the ABS updates its Labour Force, Detailed data to include changes which occurred in the Sep – Nov period.

MiningEnviroScanNov12Data

Table 1: Data for Australian Mining Workforce Planning Environmental Scan Nov 2012. Data sourced from Australian Mining Newsletter & News Archive. Some stories have been verified against primary resources (i.e. ASX, commercial websites and other news agencies).

Work Health & Safety (WH&S) returns to around its long-term average (currently 22.7%) with 17-stories which reflected 13-injuries and two deaths. The Cessnock man who died just kilometres from his home drifted off the road where he crashed into a parked car. One of the items that have become apparent in my research this year has been the large amount of deaths of miners driving to or from work, which also has to call into question the fatigue management plans of miners and their contracting companies plus the state of our roads which connects our mines to our modern day miners.

Industrial Relations (IR) had the third highest tally this month but at eight stories (10.5%) has almost decreased by a third from its half-year average of 15.5%. This has to be due to the post EOFY year crash in commodity prices. One thing to watch, especially in 2013 will be the increased uptake in union membership amongst mining communities, who for the first time are under employment security pressures.

My pick of the month for November goes to The WestBusiness story about the recent cuts in the Mining sector impacting on the gender gains in recent years. The data from my own research also shows the retraction on softer Workforce Planning issues with Work Life Fit (Balance) averaging just 0.7% since July, Skills Shortages 1.1% and Diversity (incl. of all diversity issues) the highest on a low 1.4%.

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