Here’s what you need to know to use your health and safety record to attract the best candidates in a tight labour market.
Do mining job candidates care about a company’s health and safety record?
You bet they do.
Does it factor into their decision-making when deciding which job offer to accept?
Yet according to Ann Meyer, MPI’s Consultant for Mining Engineering, a company’s health and safety record is generally discussed in a roundabout way—with candidates doing a lot of their own research among their professional network before talking to their recruiter about it.
“Candidates don’t ask up-front about safety and health; it is usually discussed in a roundabout way,” she said.
How candidates ask about your health and safety record
What does that look like? Ann said candidates tend to ask about five areas, which all give a strong indication of a company’s culture of safety.
Candidates want to see flexible rostering for reasons beyond their own lifestyle and convenience. A company’s approach to rostering says a lot about their attitude towards their people.
Our reputations follow us all—and people talk. Candidates want to know who the CEO is, who is on the board, and who is managing the company’s day to day. It tells them a lot about the company’s culture, and how the company might approach health and safety. Leaders decide a company’s safety culture—and we’re at a point where that’s more important to candidates than money.
Increasingly, candidates want to know what policies are in place to prevent workplace harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence. In a skills shortage, candidates have the luxury of choice over where they work—and they will choose a company that has a zero-tolerance approach to bad behaviour over one that doesn’t.
Candidates will look at the overall way the job is packaged. How is the role performed? What flexibility can the company offer? Are the shifts too long (and therefore potentially dangerous)? Has the company tried eight-hour days with three rosters instead of two? How a job is designed says a lot about a company’s attitude towards worker welfare.
Safety for women
Around 18% of the Australian mining workforce is now female, according to data from the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development. Your policies around, reputation for, and facilities, amenities and capacity for catering for women and ensuring their health and safety onsite are key to these candidates choosing your offer over that of another company.
Your safety record is common knowledge
Ann said a poor safety record, or poor attitudes to worker welfare, discourages candidates from working for a mining company.
“This type of information becomes common knowledge through the mining network,” Ann said. “I have had a number of candidates who let me know where not to send people.”
In other words, people talk. Your reputation for health and safety proceeds you. In a very competitive marketplace, where every skilled candidate is in high demand, that could make all the difference.
Going the extra mile to ensure candidate health and safety
“The other area that candidates want more information on is how is the company motivating people?” Ann said.
“Candidates want to see clearly laid out opportunities for career advancement, and some companies are very poor in their transparency on career progression. This has a fundamental impact on candidate’s mental health and their capacity to do their jobs, which protects their health and keeps them safe.”
Ann said some companies were going to great lengths to ensure their workers felt safe and secure onsite.
“Take the example of Mineral Resources and their complete overhaul of their camps so the rooms are luxurious, extremely secure,” she said.
“The company was aware that in order to capture the talent certain changes were needed. Will this encourage candidates their way? The jury is still out.”
But it can’t hurt. And we live in very competitive times.