Driving a mining truck not work for everyone.
Driving a mining truck not work for everyone.

One in five leave mining industry in first year

THE height of Queensland's resources boom, every workplace in the state was talking about packing up to drive trucks at the mines.

But the latest data from industry skills researchers suggests one-in-five newcomers to mining leave the industry within the first 12 months.

The latest Heartbeat Report from Energy Skills Queensland draws a picture of the state's industry, including the age of the average miner - now 40, down from 44 in 2009.

Among the findings from the research, which quizzed 30,500 workers or 58% of the workforce, it found the number of mine workers grew an incredible 400% from 2003 to 2013.

It estimates the industry now employs 77,600 people.

The report also found the number of skilled migrants working in the state's mining industry to be about 1%.

ESQ chief executive Glenn Porter said those on 457 temporary visas worked in the industry for about two years, less than half that of Australian workers who stay for five-and-a-half years.

Most 457 visa workers are engineers, geoscientists and fitters, and more than two-thirds live within an hour's drive from their workplace.

Mr Porter said the age of the average worker had fallen slightly, which showed the industry was beginning to tackle the problems that stemmed from its ageing workforce.

However, more workers were needed not just because so many were leaving soon after starting work, but there were still gaps in workforce expertise.

"It is imperative that industry and government continue to focus attention on strategies which meet the skills shortages and staffing issues we have identified so that together we can build a flexible and competent workforce," Mr Porter said.

According to the Queensland Mining Heartbeat Report, the average Queensland miner is:

  • 40 years old
  • male (14% of miners are female)
  • likely to have a Cert III qualification
  • likely to stay with the industry for 5.5 years

Other key findings include:

  • 18% of workers leave in their first year.
  • Electrical trades, fitters and blast and shotfirers are still in high demand
  • The typical age of new recruits is 37