Mining companies target employees with a disability to increase diversity: Hays

Mining companies are pursuing potential employees who have a disability as a new method for increasing workforce diversity, Hays’ latest analysis on recruitment trends has revealed.

Hays, in its December quarter report, said diversity remained a priority for mining companies.

The diversity push has traditionally focused on increasing the proportion of female and Indigenous Australians in workforces.

BHP, which is aiming to have 50 per cent of its workforce female by 2025, added 100 women to its workforce in the 2017 financial year in a leading example of this strategy.

Fortescue Metals Group has employed 774 Indigenous Australians at the company over the past decade through its Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) program to help it increase diversity.

Hays said most major miners were still looking to add more female and Indigenous employees to their workforce, but also indicated the scope for growing diversity had expanded.

“We are now also receiving requests for candidates with a disability to further diversify workforces,” Hays reported.

Skills shortages are growing as a concern for Australian mining companies, the analysis from Hays also found.

Hays, which pointed out that skills shortages were emerging in its last report, said mining bosses are warning of a looming skills shortage, with certain skills already in high demand and short supply.

The agency believes the rebound in optimism and improved sales prices in mining has caused the skills shortage.

“This is the result of mass redundancies and the uncertainty of recent years, which drove much of the workforce into alternative industries closer to home, where many were satisfied to trade reduced wages for improved lifestyles and are not interested in returning to mining,” the Hays analysis said.

“It is particularly evident in locations such as North Queensland where many workers were expected to work on DIDO (drive in, drive out) rosters, and it may be challenging to entice them back.

“North Queensland employers are now opening up more FIFO positions given the increase in Greenskin Operator positions across the Bowen Basin. While this initially created a great new pool of candidates, these skills were quickly secured just as the DIDO candidate pool was.”

Western Australia is another market short on candidates thanks to cautious economic optimism and a surge in mineral exploration, Hays explained.

“Add the steady iron ore price, good gold price and a number of lithium projects coming on line or expanding production, and skilled candidates in several areas are in high demand,” Hays said.

“Given the shortage of suitable candidates for temporary roles, employers could consider increasing hourly rates or recruiting on a permanent basis.”

Hays’ hotspots in demand:

Western Australia: dump truck operators, HD fitters and auto electricians, drillers, exploration geologists, underground engineers, gold process technicians, lab technicians

Queensland: truck operators, dragline operators, boilermakers, diesel fitters

South Australia: project engineers – structural, senior project engineers – mechanical, diesel mechanics

Victoria: mechanical fitters, concreters with precast experience, quarry operators.