Firm has trouble finding tradies
Summary: WA unemployment may be soaring after the end of the resources boom, but a mining services company is struggling to fill about 70 trade positions.....
PJL Group operations manager Craig Walker said the 70 vacant positions included roles for auto electricians, boilermakers, specialist fitters and diesel mechanics.
About 10 of the jobs were Perth-based, and others included residential and FIFO positions in Kalgoorlie, Northern Goldfields and Newman. Mr Walker said the company had about 75 people employed in WA, so the vacancy rate represented almost 50 per cent of its desired numbers.
“We are just not getting the applications,” he said.
See job listing for PJL here: WA - FIFO Diesel Mechanic / HD Fitter
“A lot of what we do receive is from overseas people wanting to secure their 457 visa.”
Mr Walker said the firm had increased its hourly rate by between $6 and $8 since Christmas, yet was still unable to attract the desired numbers of appropriately skilled staff.
To help plug some of the gap, PJL had also taken to employing staff with trade expertise outside mining and upskilling them through industry-specific training.
Mr Walker said he expected the skilled labour shortage was exacerbated by an exodus of people who came to WA during the mining boom back to the Eastern States at the start of the downturn. But plenty of skills also still remained within WA, shifting to other sectors.
“We are trying to attract the highly skilled people in their 40s and 50s who are still in Perth back into the mining industry,” Mr Walker said.
“Rates have become more competitive and another thing we can offer for FIFO workers is more family-friendly rosters,” he said.
He said a longer-term solution was for government to provide more support for companies to train apprentices, ensuring a consistent flow of skilled labour into the workforce.