As miners move to layoff workers and job prospects in the sector tighten, desperate jobseekers are offering thousands of dollars in cash to anyone who can help them get a mining job.
The West Australian reports labourer Patrick Johnston, 28, has placed an online advertisement offering $5000 as well as his 1994 Ford Falcon valued at $1500, in return for an entry-level mine job.
Johnston, a university graduate who recently moved to Australia from Ireland said it is rumoured applicants need to know someone in the company to be even considered for a position.
He added that some recruiters had told him personal contacts are of greater value than worksite experience and safety training.
Johnston explained his deal sweetener was not a corporate bribe but rather a ‘spotter’s fee’ similar to the type recruitment agencies are paid.
"I've come to WA because it's one of the only places in the world that is not in a recession," he said.
"I would consider $5000 a cheap price to pay for the brilliant opportunity to work on the mines."
Johnston is one of many who are willing to pay for their break into the sector.
Online classified Gumtree is currently hosting a number of similar wanted job adverts with cash incentives attached.
Australian Mining spoke to job seeker Corey Matthews, 23, who after applying for almost 30 roles out of sheer desperation posted an advert on Gumtree offering $1000 cash in return for an operational role in the sector.
Matthews moved to Western Australia and has mine site experience as well as his White Card, heavy rigid licence, and first aid certificates but is yet to secure his dream dump truck driving job.
“The advert hasn’t paid off yet,” he said.
He explained that he has been approached by a number of scammers who have asked for upfront payment, and warned others in his position need to be vigilant.
Another jobseeker advertising his skill set online and making the move to the West is 50-year-old Tony Walker.
“I don’t get any positive replies from people wanting to hire, they say ‘unfortunately you’ve been unsuccessful’,” he told Australian Mining.
Walker is seeking an entry level position, and since moving to Western Australia he said he’s met a lot of ex-miners who have more experience then himself and are struggling to get jobs.
“Unless you know someone you can’t get in,” he told Australian Mining.
The incentives appear to be a sign of the times, especially in mining heavy state Western Australia which has seen the unemployment rate jump from 3.5 to 5.2 per cent, or an extra 21,000 people looking for work in the year to May.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics mining employment peaked in August with 114,300 jobs, dropping to 108,500 in February.
And as mining pulls its foot off the accelerator and more projects get shelved, including Woodside’s Browse LNG hub at James Price Point, Western Australia’s construction job numbers are also falling from a peak in February 2011 of 118,000 to 116,600 in February 2013.
There is a belief that it isn’t what you know it’s who you know when it comes to breaking into the mining sector.
But one mining recruitment site FIFObids director Michael Haywood said this belief is wrong, explaining that prospective employees are more concerned about skill level and experience.
Haywood said unskilled workers are finding it harder to get mining jobs because increasingly qualified trades workers are looking to labouring roles as sites layoff staff.
A sentiment recruitment company Resource Channel’s Jodie Elliott agrees with, saying there is a misconception in the sector that mining will hire anyone.
She corrected the misconception saying it is certain skills that are in high demand, not people, “if it was a people problem we’d be able to fill the gap”.
“If you don’t have the skills in the sector you are going to struggle getting a mining job now because you are competing with experienced mine workers,” Elliott said.
Speaking about the incentivised wanted job adverts Elliott explained that it is illegal for any company to take a cash incentive in return for hiring a candidate so the move is “counterintuitive”.
Elliott said to secure a position in the mining sector today jobseekers need to get out of capital cities and live where the mines are.
She added that those looking for mining employment also need to leverage the skills they have.
“You’ve got to go your research and match the skills you’ve got with the jobs that are there.”