Dani Tamati, recruitment specialist and human resources manager at mining industry agency (and Prospect Award winner) THE resources Hub, identifies three of the biggest employment trends she has identified in the mining industry recently.
Perhaps as a consequence of post-downturn adjustment, there has been an increasing desire towards work flexibility, a trend reflected in the wider workforce, and Dani Tamati, HR manager at THE resources Hub, has seen a palpable shift in attitudes and expectations in this regard.
“I’m seeing a bit of a shift of people wanting the flexibility to work on contracts and projects at their own discretion,” explained Tamati. “I think that freelance gigs and agile mining will be huge in the coming years, especially as we come to terms with that mentality that not everyone needs to be employed in a permanent position.”
A mix of permanent and temporary roles, mixed with a diverse work life balance is expected to play out in employment trends in the future. Tamati cites the examples of mothers who want to return to work during school hours as a particular example; capable individuals that can be utilised onsite even if they want to work 20 hours a week, or two days from home, and can still fulfil the tasks and responsibilities that they need to.
While hiring managers and recruiters generally prefer a permanent workforce the realities of the downturn means that people are quite happy to experiment with different methods of employment.
In spite of these changes, Tamati believes that there is one particular work trend that probably isn’t going to change much anytime soon.
“FIFO is here to stay. We’ll probably see some mining companies want families to return to towns; I think that’s pretty imperative to the infrastructure of towns in the Pilbara, Goldfields, and Kimberley regions of Western Australia in particular.”
Tamati has lived with her husband in the Pilbara for 14 years, and her children have begun to seek apprenticeships. Her son was recently picked for a boilermaker apprenticeship out of 220 applications, and while she is naturally pleased for him, she also believes that there just aren’t enough apprenticeships out there.
Tamati cites apprenticeships as an important tool for employee development, especially when it comes to trade roles, but at the moment, she said, there quite simply aren’t enough opportunities out there.
“We’ve lacked apprenticeship opportunities in the last four or five years, and that will have such a detrimental effect,” she explained. “Over the next 24 months, industry and the government are going to have to rally to find some kind of solution to the shortfall.”
When it comes to salary, news is generally good, with wages on the up. Trades in particular have seen an increase of at least 10–20 per cent, according to Tamati.
“I actually benchmarked rates for a mining company last September, comparing employee expectation back in 2012 to now,” she said. “It was a mine site with about 180 people to restart, up to 360 in the first three years, and the rates had increased. And they’re only going to keep increasing.”