FIFO workforce preferred: report

fifoWA’s resources workforce will drop by nearly 20 per cent in the coming decade, paving the way for a 60 to 63 per cent rise fly in, fly out workers by 2020, according to the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME).

The 2015-2025 Western Australian Resources Sector Outlook by CME and Deloitte Access Economics predicted the sector’s employees would drop from 105,200 to 87,000 by 2025, as the industry moves into the operational phase.

“The future will see a continued need for a fly in, fly out (FIFO) workforce during the operational phase, providing choice for employees and to meet the sector’s need for skilled labour,” the report stated.

The Pilbara would lose a total 14,300 workers by 2020: the loss of 17,900 construction workers would be balanced by an additional 3600 operational workers. Only 1.5 per cent more women and 2.3 per cent more indigenous workers would join the increased FIFO personnel.

Accommodating the future workforce would require both FIFO and local residential options, the report claimed. Operational labour productivity is projected to increase significantly over the short term,” it stated.

“Over the medium term labour productivity will plateau and needs to improve if the sector is to continue to compete effectively on the world stage.” Furthermore, the resources sector’s energy demand is set to rise within the decade.

Diesel consumption could rise to 20 petajoules until 2016 and then fall to 14PJ in 2020 as natural gas superseded diesel; rising to 41PJ in 2020 compared with 2013 levels.

“Incremental changes in demand will see natural gas replace diesel as the main energy source,” it revealed. Diesel consumption was predicted to fall to 48 per cent of the resources sector’s energy consumption by 2020, while natural gas comprised the remaining 52 per cent. “The forecast increase in gas consumption suggests tight market conditions could emerge in the medium term,” the report stated.

The Pilbara, WA’s biggest resources region, is expected to consume an additional 61PJ of energy by 2020.