Local workers key to skills shortage, survey says


The best solution to the resources sector’s skills shortage is to back Australian workers for mining jobs, according to a Mining People International survey.

The July survey asked participants if they were impacted by a mining skills shortage and what they believed was the best solution to the problem, with just under 80 per cent responding that the answer lies with an Australian workforce.

Of the 99 people who answered the poll, 77.8 per cent said the skills shortage was impacting their mine site, while almost the same number of respondents reported the skill shortage as being a little problem (38.4 per cent) and a big problem (39.4 per cent).

Only 16.2 per cent of those surveyed said the skills shortage was not a problem.

When asked for a fix to the skills shortage, 48 per cent said employing people who were keen to get a start in mining and give them the training they need as their first choice.

Comparably, 7 per cent of respondents encouraged already trained and skilled local workers who have left the industry to return.

This week the Joint Standing Committee on Migration released its final report of the Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program.

The committee recommended the Federal Government develop accepted definitions of acute skills shortages and persistent skills shortages by taking into account a number of factors.

These factors included recruitment difficulty, the shortage’s length of time, number of job vacancies, geographic spread of vacancies, and the criticality of the occupation to temporary circumstances like pandemics.

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive officer Tania Constable said while mining companies always prefer to train, hire and retain Australians, an efficient and effective skilled migration system is crucial in tackling both temporary and structural skills shortages.

“The MCA has advocated for a more agile and responsive skilled migration program to address critical skills shortages, recognise emerging occupations and remove barriers to innovation,” Constable said.

“A dynamic national workforce plan coordinated by the Commonwealth Government would bring an integrated approach to Australia’s higher education and vocational education systems, employment services and the skilled migration program.”

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