SER­VICES

Re­cruit­ment agen­cies ser­vic­ing Pa­pua New Guinea say the em­ploy­ment of ex­pa­tri­ates has fallen over the past year. How­ever, as our sur­vey of the sec­tor sug­gests, there is op­ti­mism about em­ploy­ment in 2014.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

Exxonmo­bil em­ployed about 17,000 work­ers dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase of its PNG LNG project, with twoto-three times that many be­ing em­ployed by ser­vice providers to the project. But the num­ber of di­rectly em­ployed per­son­nel at the plant could fall to as low as 1000 as the project comes on stream. A drop in em­ploy­ment is thus in­evitable.

Mark Turner, Direc­tor at Enigma In­ter­na­tional Re­sourc­ing, quan­ti­fies the fall-off in ex­pa­tri­ate em­ploy­ment at 11%, but says the PNG LNG plant is not the sole rea­son for the fall.

‘Se­condly, 2013 has been a dis­ap­point­ing year for the price of gold see­ing a drop of nearly 30 per cent, be­fore a re­cent rally, and be­ing one of PNG’S core min­eral re­sources this has had a ma­jor im­pact on a num­ber of projects and hence em­ploy­ment with many re­sources com­pa­nies,’ he ob­serves.

‘Fi­nally, 2013 was a poor year for com­mod­ity prices in PNG, im­pact­ing their key mar­kets of cof­fee, palm oil, sub­sis­tence and cash crops.’

New projects

With the PNG LNG con­struc­tion largely com­pleted, re­cruit­ment com­pa­nies are mov­ing on to the new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘We’re now into the re­cruit­ment of per­son­nel re­lated to the pro­duc­tion phase of the PNG LNG project,’ says Calum Smith, Re­gional Manager, Air En­ergi Paci­fica Ltd, which spe­cialises in re­cruit­ing for the oil and gas in­dus­try.

Like sev­eral re­cruiters Busi­ness Ad­van­tage spoke to for this ar­ti­cle, Scott Roberts, Man­ag­ing Prin­ci­pal of Bris­bane-based Cad­den Crowe, pre­dicts other projects and ven­tures are just wait­ing around the cor­ner.

They in­clude the Lae High­way con­struc­tion, the road link­ing the LNG

prov­inces to the cap­i­tal, Port Moresby, and the Manus Is­land detention cen­tres.

Con­fi­dence

There ap­pears to be two rea­sons for the con­tin­u­ing strong em­ploy­ment trend: con­fi­dence in the O’neill Gov­ern­ment, and a rise in living stan­dards as a re­sult of the PNG LNG project’s im­pact on the econ­omy.

Enigma’s Mark Turner says fu­ture planned re­sources projects will cre­ate jobs in en­gi­neer­ing, con­struc­tion, lo­gis­tics, hos­pi­tal­ity and trans­port sec­tors.

’In gen­eral, our clients in PNG are very pos­i­tive about the fu­ture of the re­gion,’ he says. ‘Per­haps the phrase to use would be “qui­etly con­fi­dent”.’

‘Enigma con­tin­ues to work with com­mer­cial PNG com­pa­nies look­ing for their ex­pats to make a long term com­mit­ment to PNG, with most em­ployed on a res­i­den­tial sta­tus rather than FIFO [fly in, fly out],’ says Turner.

‘Our clients are look­ing for man­agers who’ll not only make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the com­pany but also, through train­ing and de­vel­op­ing the peo­ple they man­age, to help de­velop PNG eco­nom­i­cally, so­cially, and cul­tur­ally.’

Smith says Air En­ergi Paci­fica pro­cessed about 1000 work per­mits and visas last year. ‘It may in­crease in­cre­men­tally but we don’t see it drop­ping, which is a good in­di­ca­tion of mar­ket ac­tiv­ity.’

Air En­ergi Paci­fica’s Calum Smith

Enigma In­ter­na­tional Re­sources’ Mark Turner

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