Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a cascade of consequences with a direct impact on business and the global economy. Widespread job instability, particularly in education, transport and tourism is creating further pressure on people’s livelihoods and the nation’s GDP.

However, it is important to understand that there are opportunities still. Resilience in these times is a pre-requisite for progress, as is the ability to adapt.

Whilst not immune to the impacts of the pandemic, the sectors which will continue operations and grow are Defence, Mining and Civil Construction. Our clients in these respective sectors continue to plan for growth and build their workforce plans. As the graph below indicates, we are going through a large Government commitment to support Australia’s defence capability, and in particular, it’s navy operations. The contractors working in Defence space, need people with electrical, mechanical, piping knowledge and experience.

The Government is increasing investment in advanced Defence capabilities while boosting Australia’s sovereign defence industry and creating Australian jobs. The Government’s $90 billion investment in the continuous ship and the submarine building is the largest regeneration of the Navy since the Second World War. Fifty-four naval ships will be built in Australia using Australian steel.

Over the next decade to 2028-29, the Government is investing more than $200 billion in Defence capabilities including:

  • the continuous naval shipbuilding program, which is investing around
  • $90 billion to build world-class vessels, while also building a strong and viable Australian naval shipbuilding industry;
  • continuing to upgrade our EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft and
  • E-7A Wedgetail battlespace management aircraft; and
  • building policy and intelligence capabilities to ensure Australia has a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

Luerssen Australia (, for example, is seeking people to assist in the build of the 10 Arafura class offshore patrol vessels in Western Australia, construction of which will continue until 2029.

The mining sector continues, although with select pockets of activity. BHP, RIO and FMG are creating extra jobs across their operations to assist in combating the impact of Covid-19 on the Australian economy, and aggressively pursuing their respective projects in iron ore. Australian Reserve Bank board minutes noted that despite a freeze in supply chains from China, its demand for coal had not reduced and iron ore imports had not been significantly affected. The board believed Australia could benefit in late 2020 when Chinese growth is expected to rebound in a race to make up for lost production. With the stockpiles dwindling, the upswing is inevitable.

Civil construction across Australia, but particularly in NSW and VIC is continuing to grow, and the expectation is that there will be an ongoing need for people, from qualified civil engineers to labourers across the country.

Times are difficult, and we all have to adapt. Keep the composure, be practical and look for opportunities. Australia is resilient and will bounce back. 

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