How to recruit the best talent in a mining skills shortage


Here are 6 tips to help ensure you’re recruiting top talent during mining’s skills shortage.

It’s a recruitment challenge facing much of the mining industry right now: operations are ramping up, but skilled staff are in short supply.

As every mining company competes for the same talent pool, everyone is looking for the competitive advantage that will ensure they secure the very best candidates available for every single position.

Here are six tips to help ensure you’re recruiting top talent during a skills shortage.

Gain access to the passive jobs market

Not all jobseekers are actively scouring sites like Seek for job postings. Quite often many ideal candidates are waiting to be found by you, instead. This is the “passive market”.

It’s not that these candidates aren’t interested in finding a new mining job; they are. They might be ready for the move, aren’t quite looking yet, but would jump at a good opportunity if it came along.

Mining People fills a very high majority of roles with candidates you might consider part of the passive market, but we have access to these candidates through our database.

Perhaps they’re people who are under-challenged in their current role, have hit a promotion “ceiling” with their current employer, or are looking for a mining job that better suits their changing lifestyle.

In a skills shortage situation, finding candidates for mining jobs who are ready to move but aren’t actively looking yet is a great way to fill the vacancies you have on your team.

Connect with a relevant database of jobseekers

What’s your database of skilled miners like? If you haven’t kept a database of previous applicants, chances are it’s relatively small.

Connect with a large database of skilled miners and mining industry professionals, so you can tap into a talent pool that’s far wider and more diverse than your own.

After 26 years Mining People has 106,000+ active experienced mining candidates registered.

Search in your local area, not just online

Where are you advertising? Chances are you’re advertising using online job sites like Seek. It’s true a lot of candidates are using these sites. But in a skills shortage situation like the one facing the mining industry now, those same candidates are also overwhelmed for choice. You need to stand out from the crowd.

Instead of casting your net into the wide blue ocean, why not drop a line into a known fishing hotspot instead? Advertise locally. For example, if you’re in Kalgoorlie, advertise in (and tap into existing networks in) the Goldfields. 

Mobilise as quickly as you can

Candidates have choice. That’s the reality of a skills shortage. Given the choice between a job that mobilises in 24 or 48 hours, or one that mobilises in two weeks or a month, it’s the one that mobilises faster that’s going to be most attractive to the candidate.

HR processes can take a long time. That’s especially true in mining, where there are medicals and other checks to perform. Look at ways to mobilise more quickly. For example, if your preferred candidate is ready to start ASAP, consider a client referral to Mining People. In most cases (medical centre dependent) we can get candidates mobilised within 72 hours. You then run your internal process while having your preferred candidates onsite, as a Mining People contractor. When you are ready, you roll them off our payroll and onto yours, free of any charges.

Research the competition

Make sure you have accurate and updated information before going to market with a vacancy, including how much competition there is for a required skill set.

Know what the average and expected salary range is, and understand what the leading attraction for each skill is (that is to say, it’s not always salary; it could be location, lifestyle or career growth the company could offer).

Keep an eye on your competitors and know what they’re doing to attract candidates (and whether it’s working).

Need a review on your salaries and remuneration benefits? Mining People offers tailored advice for you and your operation. Click here to find out more.

FURTHER READING: History repeats with yet another mining skills shortage

Outsource your recruitment

Recruiting during a skills shortage can be a tough task. Consider outsourcing your recruitment processes. In a way, outsourcing to a specialist mining industry recruiter means you can “set and forget” a difficult job at a time when you’re probably already stretched throughout the business.

If you outsource to a specialist mining industry recruiter, they will source, interview, complete due diligence and (as close as practicable) mobilise your new starters with as little involvement from you as possible.

When you outsource your recruitment well, the first five points above look after themselves. Qualified and experienced recruiters, especially ones who know your industry back to front, will be able to help you by:

  • Reaching passive mining job candidates through their established networks
  • Using their extensive database of skilled miners who might be looking for a new mining job
  • Hooking into local networks in places like Kalgoorlie, for example, where they have regional offices
  • Having candidates approved, with all their tests and qualifications in order, and ready to mobilise at very short notice
  • Having an intense understanding of the mining jobs market in Australia and knowing (and having the data to show it) what kinds of salaries and other conditions mining job candidates for any particular role are demanding
  • Finding candidates who are more likely to “stick” at a job than to move on quickly
  • Conducting a parallel search using their resources to produce more matching candidates, to find you the most suitable potential employees possible.

Mining People International has more than 26 years’ specialist experience helping mining companies find the best candidates across every job category. Find out more here or get in touch today.


Dan Hatch
Mining People International