The Aussie mining industry took some tough blows in the last year. It struggled to compete with decreased Chinese demand, and global lows in iron ore and coal prices meant investors gave it a wide berth.
As the mineral resources boom of the last few decades comes to an end, demand for highly skilled mining engineers is falling. By 2019, the Department of Employment expects mining engineers employed to fall from 12,200 to 11,400.
But if you’re a smart, skilled mining engineer, the end of the boom doesn’t mean the end of a career. Before you pack your bag for an overseas opportunity, think about new sectors and whether you’re ready to upskill for local career success.
New sectors and skilling up
It’s the perfect time to think about applying your skills in a new sector where skilled engineers are in demand. It isn’t all about the mineral boom. Mining engineers can apply their skills in the petroleum, natural gas, research and services sectors.
In a crowded job market, building skills to suit the new industries and vacancies is key. The secret to success? Study. It’ll take you from an engineer working on a large scale, multi-million dollar project to the engineer who manages the whole project.
Innovate and automate
Automation is a key area of ongoing research and development (R&D) for companies like BHP, Roy Hill, Rio Tinto and Fortescue, and provides potential new engineering jobs.
Smart companies understand the potential of innovation and new technologies, not only to increase Australian mining competitiveness, but to sell our technology and services to the world. Automated systems and machinery that require little human intervention are in high demand.
Look out for engineering opportunities in this sector as companies shift from operations to R&D.
Stand out from the crowd
Statistics show almost 60 per cent of mining engineers have a Bachelor degree, while only 30 per cent have a postgraduate qualification. An online Master of Engineering Management could be your chance to get ahead of the job-seeking pack.
There’s a reason they call it the ‘MBA of engineering’. It supports your technical knowledge with skills in communication, stakeholder engagement, people management and budgets.
A key lesson to learn when taking the leap from worker to a leader is fighting the typical engineer’s urge to do it yourself so it’s done right! Luckily, delegation skills can be taught.
From boom to bust, and back again
Before you write off the Australian mining sector, remember the cycles of boom and bust. Some experts are already predicting an industry recovery, based on an easing of the tough 2016 conditions. Be ready when the next boom starts.
Make your own opportunity
Take charge of your own future with an online Master of Engineering Management. You can study postgrad engineering online with SCU, without giving up your day job. Learn more about our leading programs or speak to one of our expert Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 589 882.