Brenda Strong

Gladstone off the hotspots list for gas industry jobs

GLADSTONE has lost its crown a hotspot for gas jobs as projects on Curtis Island move towards the end of their construction phase.

The city doesn't get a mention in the latest quarterly hotspots lists by international recruitment company Hays, with Western Australia and Northern Territory dominating the oil and gas sector.

According to the recruiter's latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, there are still pockets of skills shortages, most notably in accountancy, insurance, sales and IT.

"Job opportunities are available for skilled and experienced professionals," managing director Nick Deligiannis said.

"While the unemployment rate remains relatively flat at the moment, with expectations that it may edge up slightly by the middle of the year, skilled professionals in many key areas will still be needed.

"Employers in several non-mining sectors are growing, but they are facing a shortage of specific high-skilled talent.

"Those people with high-level skills are already looking to change jobs to improve their prospects and career development," he said.

In the oil and gas sector, quality assurance and quality control advisors are in demand in the Northern Territory, with major projects moving further into the construction and fabrication phases.

In Western Australia, subsea installation engineers, marine/technical superintendents and subsea project co-ordinators are in demand, as are sales engineers.

Hays says various oil and gas projects will ramp up this year, leading to an increase in recruitment activity.

While there will not be an en masse hiring increase, companies involved with major projects are expected to see an overall increase in workload.

Zavalnyuk Sergey

Resources and mining

IN resources and mining, specialist engineers with specific experience in the fields of safety, reliability, business improvement, mechanical, electrical and mining engineering are in demand as employers seek to improve operational standards, efficiency and safety at their mining operations.

Maintenance planners that can be located in regional centres such as the Bowen Basin also are in demand as companies look to reduce their FIFO workforce.

Jobs also will be available for electrical and mechanical engineers, particularly those that have mineral processing plant maintenance experience.

Higher production pressure means that processing plants must optimise their operational time and keep their down time to a minimum. Engineers that can reside in regional areas are sought after.

Other positions will be available for iron experienced candidates such as operators, process engineers and supervisors, reliability engineers and experienced shutdown planners.

Hays said that despite a continued lull in hiring across the mining industry, pockets of activity in some areas around the states were having a positive influence on hiring decisions.

Within the Northern Territory there has been 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 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, there has been 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 shifted to iron ore, where the 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," Hays said.

"We are not seeing a drop in salaries, but offers are at the lower end of the spectrum."