BY Barbara Beard

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has recently released a publication titled “Industry Employment Growth since November 2007”. This report examines industry employment changes since November 2007 through to November 2012. The paper is written with a focus on change and shows mining as the sector with the second highest growth over the five year period – a total of 130,900 workers or a 94.3% increase in the mining workforce. This is true but to put it in context, the mining sector now employs 269,700 workers which comprised just 2.3% of the total 2012 workforce of 11,535,200 workers.

In addition, the sector with the largest growth was Health Care and Social Assistance with an increase of 270,500 workers. This increase was double that of the increase in mining and was actually higher than the entire mining workforce in 2012. The increase in Health Care and Social Assistance workers brings the numbers of workers in the sector to 1,136,900 which accounted for 11.9% of all workers in 2012.

The Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector increased by 128,900 workers in the same five year period and employed 913,800 workers or 7.9% of the workforce in 2012. This sector had the third highest increase after Health Care and Social Assistance and Mining.

There are many more interesting facts in this paper and it is well worth a read but when doing so bear in mind that change is one thing but it needs to be put in context. Mining gets a lot of coverage in all areas of the media and it becomes quite easy to believe the sector is larger than it actually is but in the larger scheme of things it is still only a small workforce employer. The Australia Institute has a link to an article written by Richard Dennis about the reality of employment in mining. To access the article for downloading click here:

For a copy of the original paper DEEWR paper “Industry Employment Growth since November 2007”click on the link below to open a word document (which may open slowly) .

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