As Australian mining hits its stride again following the downturn, we’re seeing a surge in the availability of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) jobs. As recruiters, we’re in regular contact with Australian candidates who are keen to take advantage of these opportunities. From experienced professionals who have been out of the industry for some time, to ‘cleanskins’ without FIFO experience, we’re hearing repeatedly that they’re ready and willing to take on FIFO work.
The post-downturn employment picture
The industry is at an interesting place at the moment.
When the resources boom ended:
- many experienced professionals left mining to pursue work in other sectors (such as construction)
- the downturn damaged the image of mining for younger generations, and they no longer saw a reliable future in it.
Now that new mines are opening, and existing ones are reopening, many mining operations are experiencing skills shortages. Some businesses and politicians are calling for migrant workers to be brought in to do FIFO jobs that aren’t being filled by Australians.
But there is another approach: one that would provide the opportunities that many Australians are hungry for, as well as ensuring that knowledge and skills learnt on the job ultimately stay in Australia. And we believe that mining companies will be rewarded too.
A new approach for a new era
The current challenges represent a significant opportunity for mining businesses. While flying in foreign workers is a quick fix, a more concerted effort to recruit Australians – and to train them well – is an investment in the future of mining in this country.
Consider these three groups:
- Experienced professionals who have been out of the industry for some time and who aren’t up-to-date with current practices or technologies
- Candidates who have worked in mining before but whose skills don’t exactly match the job description
- Cleanskins who have never worked in mining before but are keen to enter the industry.
Among these groups are hundreds of Australians who are willing to do FIFO work but who stand to be overlooked in favour of migrant workers.
Mining companies who are prepared to hire these Australians may need to invest in additional training and mentoring – but they stand to benefit from more reasonable salary expectations and increased levels of loyalty from employees who are pleased to have been given a chance.
Australian mining needs workers but it also needs to foster and train its people in order to rebuild its inventory of knowledge. If our mining industry is to thrive over the long term, we should be investing in Australians who are willing to learn.
If this article resonates with you as an employer or a jobseeker, we’d love to hear from you at Reach4.
Image courtesy :The West Australian