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Closing the gap, WA's skills shortage

Pit Crew’s Resources Sector Workforce Report got me thinking – what can we do differently to address WA’s skills shortage?

Recently, the Optimal Resourcing team attended the breakfast launch of Pit Crew Consulting Services’ Resources Sector Workforce Report.

According to the report, the Western Australian labour market may need an extra 31,000 mining and resources workers by July 2023, due to an unprecedented skills shortage.

Several factors are driving the need for additional skilled workers including competition from the eastern states, a decline in overseas and interstate migration and movement (a complication of COVID-19 restrictions), and competition from new projects and projects currently under construction within WA.

The report identified the need for industry and government collaboration and focussed on how to attract candidates and the importance of training supervisors.

I agree with and support the findings of the report, however what surprised me was that in a room full of thought leaders, industry experts and decision makers, there was a limited discussion on proposed solutions – everyone was looking for answers to the same question.

The reality is, there is no silver bullet.

While it’s not necessarily the report’s role to offer solutions (it simply collated and presented the data), it offers a significant cattle prod to look beyond the standard attraction and recruitment activities, and examine alternative, innovative ways to more effectively utilise and engage current resources.

In our experience, the key areas that enable companies to respond effectively and efficiently to market shifts and reduce the impact of skills shortages are:

  1. Building and maintaining a strong company culture that supports attraction and retention of quality staff;

  2. Developing well-planned, holistic, people-centered strategies to support your operating model and customer delivery;

  3. Developing and training your current staff, particularly new supervisors and leaders who have transitioned from a technical role; and

  4. A customer-focussed, multi-faceted plan that is practical and easily implemented.

At Optimal Resourcing, we truly believe that in order to resource the future, you have to build and retain the best teams to deliver results.

Optimal Resourcing grew from my belief that there is an optimal way to resource your business – any business, any industry. To do that, you need to work backwards from your customer and build a full picture of the work required and the skills required within your business to meet the customer’s expectations. Building out that full picture will help you to identify the skills you need now, and in to the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Resources Sector Workforce Report, on how we build capacity and capability in our mining and resources sector to minimise the impact of skills shortages, and opportunities for collaboration.

I am passionate about the future of work, workforces and workplaces - especially when it comes to my home state of Western Australia.

Join the conversation and let’s work together to be agile and flexible to enable WA to meet the challenges of the future.

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