Mining engineers, senior metallurgists and HV electricians are just three of the professionals being sought by miners as candidate movement and the preference for people with experience in previous roles impacts hiring decisions, says recruiting experts Hays Resources & Mining.
According to the recruiter’s latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, staff movement is creating vacancy activity as people decide to change employers.
“The movement of candidates onto the jobs market to explore their options and change employers is fuelling an active jobs market,” says Simon Winfield, senior regional director of Hays Resources & Mining.
“This movement of candidates between jobs is a trend not reflected in the unemployment rate, but it is a good sign of candidates’ confidence that they can improve their prospects by looking for a new job. As a result overall vacancy activity is expected to increase this quarter.”
Winfield said the need for candidates with experience was a clear trend, with workers who have changed employers often viewed as less favourable than those who have stayed loyal.
The report also reveals that the recruitment process is getting longer, as companies assess applicants more thoroughly.
According Hays, another trend is the preference for companies to recruit on a temporary-to-permanent basis in order to trial a candidate in the role.
“Many employers prefer temporary assignments to not just cover workload peaks, but to trial a candidate to ensure they are a good fit, both in terms of skills and with the business’ culture, before offering them a permanent job,” Winfield said.
“Fixed-term contracts meanwhile are also popular as they help control costs. Those candidates prepared to commit to contracts running through until Easter are highly desirable,” he said.
According to the Hays Quarterly Hotspots list, demand exists for the following skilled professionals in Australia’s resources and mining market:
•Mining Engineers – As mining companies streamline their workforce they are looking for more highly skilled candidates to perform in both planning and production roles, Hays said. However salaries have remained the same.
•Geotechnical Engineers – Geotechnical Engineers with at least one to three years underground experience are being sought rather than taking on graduates. However Hays said there is a shortage of suitable candidates at this level.
•Senior Metallurgists – As mining companies remain focused on increasing productivity from their existing plants, employers are looking for Senior Metallurgists with specialised experienced.
•HV Electricians – Hays said there are many candidates in the market with the correct qualifications, but mining companies are looking for candidates that have very specific experience with the type and model of machinery used on their projects.
•Diesel Fitters – As with HV Electricians, miners demand very specific experience in terms of the type and model of the machinery previously worked on.
•All-round Trainers & Assessors – Hays said these candidates are always in high demand as few people gain enough experience operating the broad range of machinery used on mining sites.
•Authorised Mine Surveyors – Hays said that because this is a role with statutory requirements, employers must have an Authorised Mine Surveyor to sign off changes with demand for these professionals very high.
•Reliability Engineers –Hays called people with experience in this role ‘scarce’, saying few people have the degree and mine site experience required.
•Maintenance Planners – Hays said because this role requires experience with a minimum of 10 years in a trade, followed by progression into the highly trained role of planner rather than supervisor, these professionals are highly sought after. And as mine sites age and equipment depreciates, there is more focus on maintenance with demand for these skills increasing as a result.
•Shutdown Planners – Hays said planners are always in demand as site shutdowns require specialised planners who have the skills and experience to understand the procedures involved.
•Underground Heavy Diesel Fitters – Companies now require candidates with HDF trade certification Hays said, however there are currently not enough qualified fitters in the market. Previously, candidates with site experience were accepted, but now OHS requirements and changes in insurance coverage mean that they need the correct documentation to back up their skills.
•Underground Auto Electricians – Similar to HDFs, qualified Auto Electricians are also in demand.
•HD Fitters – Trades are sought in the Northern Territory, particularly HD Fitters. But Hay said given the current focus on productivity and costs, mining employers are only offering (FIFO) work from Darwin, with the expectation that candidates cover flight costs to Darwin, resulting in a shortage of suitable candidates.