While the recovery in the mining and energy sectors is good news for employment in Australia, it also highlights the looming skills shortages that operators have to address.
According to workforce strategy and management specialist Strategic Human Resources (SHR), the only option for many employers will be to bring in skilled labour from overseas.
That is why SHR has appointed former PwC Immigration Senior Manager Sarah Pettit as Principal Consultant – Business Migration to its national team.
Ms Pettit will be based in Perth and lead SHR’s team of registered Migration Agents around Australia. She has many years of business migration experience across the oil, gas, resources banking, management consulting, finance, IT, education and health sectors.
“Employers across multiple sectors are feeling the impact of skills shortages already and it’s only set to increase,” Ms Pettit said.
“In the mining sector, demand for workers at every level, from dump truck operators to senior engineers and geologists, is significant across all the mining states.
“On top of that, the Northern Territory has just published a list of 117 different occupations in a bid to attract migrant workers and that includes everything from unskilled labourers, to trades, to degree-qualified professionals.”
SHR CEO Steve Rayner said as the resources sector experiences a rebound, some employers are finding it increasingly difficult to attract skilled workers to remote areas.
“At the height of the last boom, remote areas of WA, SA and Queensland had the pick of the bunch to some degree because there wasn’t a lot of activity in the major population centres like Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Rayner said.
“But there’s a significant number of infrastructure projects underway right up and down the east coast now so they are more attractive to a lot of skilled workers who prefer living in towns and cities rather than FIFO rosters.
“We’re also not seeing the inflated rates of pay offered that were prevalent during the last boom so that adds to the problem.
“That’s why employers have little choice but to look internationally to find and attract the talent they need.
“But Australia’s visa requirements are onerous and as a result we see Sarah as a vital addition to our team and to providing the outcomes required by our clients.
“She has significant experience dealing with regulatory compliance and the Department of Home Affairs, and her pragmatic approach will ensure our clients receive prompt, professional and commercially sensible outcomes.”