Fly-in, fly-out workers can expect to be offered more flexible work arrangements as mining companies scramble to attract and retain staff amid a growing skilled worker shortage in WA.
Mining recruitment specialists say BHP’s recent announcement that it will begin offering a drive-in, drive-out option for workers on its Pilbara mines was the latest example of companies thinking outside the square to ensure they remained attractive employers.
Belinda Honey, of West Perth-based human resources firm Livingstones & SHR Group, said companies were continually looking at the best ways to attract workers.
“They’re moving away from regimented-style rosters to more personalised offerings that afford workers a better work/life balance,” she said.
“Living in the Pilbara will not appeal to everyone but it’s about anticipating ways of appealing to a more diverse workforce by offering more variety and options.”
The increase in flexible work arrangements, swings and rosters come as the WA mining industry begins to experience a shortage of skilled workers that is set to worsen as several big iron ore construction projects in the Pilbara ramp up.
The problem is being exacerbated by large-scale infrastructure developments on the east coast, which have sucked up the national pool of available talent, as well as fewer young people entering mining-related trades and professions and a tightening of the skilled migration regime.
Some miners, including Dacian Gold and Panoramic Resources, have already reported worker shortages in some areas.
Jim Huemmer, of roster optimisation firm Shiftwork Solutions, said mining employers were moving away from the traditional “two weeks on, one week off” roster to equal-time options such as 14 days on, 14 days off or seven on, seven off, or shorter.
“Some workers are happy to work longer and earn more money while others are prepared to earn less to have more time at home with their families,” he said.
“While operationally challenging, some employers are having to offer a number of options.”
Ms Honey said she expected some pressure on salaries as the labour market tightened but noted mining companies were desperate to avoid the mistakes of the last boom when competition for staff led to rapid wage inflation.
Source: The West Australian, 13 April 2019