There is subdued hiring activity in the mining sector with continued cost cutting across the industry. In Western Australia there are some gold operations that are increasing their exploration activity and driving their production forwards, however the increase in activity in this sector is being balanced by jobs lost in iron ore.
Temporary contracts remain more attractive to employers who are opting to try out candidates before offering permanent opportunities. This is a popular recruitment methodology when the pool of available candidates is perceived to be large.
Ironically though, when companies are hiring permanent staff they are finding it challenging to attract staff away from their existing employers. Candidates need to be convinced that the role is stable before being lured by an attractive salary package.
The number of candidates has increased but the skill sets of those available don't always match up with the requirements of employers, especially when candidates have worked in a specific mine type throughout their career.
The other trend that we are experiencing as a result of the availability of candidates is a raised expectation from employers about the level of experience of the talent pool and the level of candidate that their vacancy can attract. So instead of a like-for-like hire, employers are looking to improve on the quality of their staff.
In Queensland, we are seeing demand for candidates who can start work immediately on short-term contracts. This work will often then turn into ongoing contract work. Companies require candidates with current medicals and inductions who are ready to go on DIDO friendly rosters.
Due to the recent mass redundancies in South Australia, there has been an increase in skilled candidates with mining experience in the market. Most of the candidates are using LinkedIn and previous employers to connect with their own networks to seek new opportunities.
Candidate levels have increased in both the professional and white collar space in the Northern Territory. With Territory Iron and Western Desert Resources both going into care and maintenance, and other key mines reducing costs due to the commodity price fall, mining activity has decreased in the territory.
Candidates in the ‘available’ pool will take roles at any level that they have previously worked in to stay in the industry. Those who are in work but dissatisfied with their roles are being extra cautious and staying put.
The candidates willing to take the short-term opportunities are the ones that win the long- term work by proving themselves in the initial short contract.
Underground Electricians with underground mining experience are in demand as more gold mines are ramping up production.
Residential Geologists are required to live and work in Kalgoorlie, again in line with the gold mines in that area increasing production.
Maintenance Planners are needed as many maintenance crews are now servicing the same amount of equipment but with significantly fewer members on their team. As a result, they have strict maintenance plans in place to ensure all maintenance activities are executed as efficiently as possible. Therefore good Planners with strong iron ore process plant experience are highly sought after to maximize a crew’s performance.
Due to cost cutting exercises, Maintenance Supervisors are needed to improve efficiency for fixed plant maintenance. Also, Mining Engineers who have the ability to look for cost saving solutions are sought after.
Reliability Engineers are in demand as most Mechanical Engineers pursue a career in projects or design, creating a shortage of Reliability Engineers. Those who can cut costs and increase production are sought after.
The lack of training and apprenticeships has led to a skills shortage for Rubber Liners. In addition, most good Liners have retained work interstate.