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3 Ways to Get Ahead of Australia’s Mining Skills Shortage

It’s one of the top issues for mining companies in Australia — there simply isn’t enough qualified, skilled staff to fill critical gaps in mining operations.

A recent McKinsey report on global mining talent says that 71 percent of mining leaders are finding the talent shortage is holding them back from delivering on production targets and strategic objectives.

This is being felt acutely in Australia, according to Justin Lejeune, Globe 24-7’s Client Relationship Manager – Asia Pacific.

“We know of many companies sitting on 100+ vacancies for C-suite, technical, and senior blue-collar roles that are critical to the business,” says Justin.

“Internal HR teams are under pressure to fill these roles, but it’s extremely difficult when everyone is trying to recruit from the same pool of skilled candidates.”

What can you do about it?

Upskilling current employees, recruiting from complementary industries, and widening your search to an international market are three ways you can get the right people for your business. Below we discuss them:

1. Upskilling your people

Upskilling internal staff into these pivotal roles is beneficial. You already know they’re a good cultural fit and they know the company’s processes and procedures. It’s also quicker than trying to find an external candidate.

But this approach has its drawbacks. It creates a vacuum in other areas of your operations, so by solving one problem you’re creating another.

It also doesn’t help short term. Newly trained staff still need a bedding-in period and mentoring in the new role. That means a slowdown in output.

2. Recruiting transferable skills

Another way companies are looking to bridge the skills gap is by recruiting candidates from complementary industries – that could be IT, oil and gas, agriculture or civil.

It’s a good approach – you widen your pool of candidates and there’s the potential to bring in new knowledge and thinking that could benefit your business.

However, those people need extensive training. So it might not be the right fit for technical mining roles.

3. Global talent search

Feel like you’ve exhausted the list of local and national candidates? It’s time to look globally.

A global talent search gives you a significantly bigger pool of highly skilled candidates and they have all the experience for a seamless start to the role.

However, it can be a daunting approach for internal recruiting teams.

“Internal teams often don’t have the extensive networks to access passive talent,” Justin says.

“Plus, they’re already stretched thin and the administrative burden and volume of vacancies can seem overwhelming.”

He said that’s where a Micro Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) service could help.

It’s a good option for small to medium companies that can adapt and scale with your business.

“For this type of service, it’s best to partner with an agency that has extensive and deep international networks,” he said.

“That way, they know which country and candidates with the right skill mix and knowledge fit with Australia’s high technical and safety standards.”

A mining recruitment agency will work exclusively with your hiring team, use their expansive networks to tap into the global talent pool to match people, and help you deliver capital projects or ramp up ongoing operations.

New approach for Australian mining

Micro RPO is an approach one gold company in Australia is exploring to help with their labour shortage.

The recruitment team was under pressure to find skilled senior blue-collar workers for their Australian sites.

The vacancies were piling up, adding pressure to the short-staffed operations crew to keep up production targets.

When they contacted us, we mapped the skills they needed, made recommendations, and began working with our international teams to find suitable candidates.

We handled all the police clearances, immigration, and reference checks, and reduced the resource burden of the team, while getting skilled people on the ground where they were needed.

Meeting the needs of your business

Labour shortages play havoc with your productivity, operations and your existing teams.

While there are ways to mitigate this in terms of training or recruiting from complementary industries, this is a medium-term solution.

Consider your outsourcing options to free up the pressure on your internal team, source a wide range of suitable candidates, and keep your operations on track.

Got a recruitment challenge, looking to fill a vacancy or even just want to have a chat?

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