The dearth of jobs in the resources sector has compelled a group of engineering graduates in Perth to take to the streets in search of work.
Josh Perling, Jonathan Luu and Dagogo Altraide have taken to standing on the streets of downtown Perth dressed in full business attire bearing placards as part of a desperate bid to secure work in the wake of the mining boom’s demise.
The trio are all recent engineering graduates who have discovered that the jobs market has fallen well short of the high expectations they held when they first embarked upon their tertiary degrees.
Perling commenced his engineering degree in 2008, when the resources boom was at its peak, and careers in the sector appeared to present a boundless vista of opportunity.
“When we were going into university, there were stories of how people didn’t even need to finish their degrees because they were getting pulled out on to work,” said Perling to The Australian. “There were jobs everywhere and we were pushed by the schools, by the media, by our parents – everyone was saying it was really good.
Since graduating, Perling and his engineering peers have spent months applying for jobs to little avail. Desperation has compelled the group to adopt the novel approach of hustling for jobs on a public street corner, holding up placards containing their full names and mobile numbers.
A raft of figures vindicates their sense of urgency. The most recent survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists found that 18.7 per cent of geoscientists, geologists and geophysicists were unemployed, with only 42 per cent confident of retaining their current positions for more than a year, and 17 per cent feeling they they were at “imminent” risk of losing their jobs.
A report released by BIS Shrapnel in April projected an activity decline of 25 per cent in engineering and construction work over the next five years, with those states whose economies are particularly dependent upon the resources sector set to be the hardest hit.
Engineering and construction work is expected to halve in Queensland over the next several years, as well as plunge by as much as quarter in Western Australia.
Poor employment demand in the mining sector is further exacerbated by the efforts of mining giants such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to cut costs in Australia’s expensive operating environment, as commodity prices continue to fall.