Miners urged to act quickly on workforce skills shortage

Mining truck on dirt road

COVID-19 and the WA border closure have started to exhaust the pool of experienced workforce candidates, and mining companies need to act fast to secure good candidates.

The WA border closure has started to exhaust the pool of experienced workforce candidates, and mining companies need to act fast to secure good candidates, Mining People’s experts warn.

David Kyte, an MPi Consultant specialising in production and exploration drilling, said the border closure means mining companies have been forced to hire only WA-based candidates to avoid 14-day quarantine restrictions, shrinking the potential talent pool.

“It has effectively created such a shortage in the candidate market that as soon as I have a candidate come across my desk that I’ve screened and interviewed, clients are snapping them up within 24 or 48 hours,” he said.

“If clients don’t respond within 24 or 48 hours, the candidate has already accepted an offer somewhere else.

“Knowing that active candidates likely have two to five opportunities open and available to them in this current candidate-short market, plus they are no doubt receiving numerous calls regarding further opportunities, it’s a case of clients striking while the iron is hot.”

David said the shortage has started to see salary expectations increase.

Underground and surface role shortages

Candidates with five or more years’ experience are particularly in demand.

And it’s not just production and exploration drilling where the shortages are occurring.

MPi Consultant Brayden Santich who works across underground and surface operators said senior roles are becoming harder to fill in underground mines “from Charge Up and above”, including Bogger, Jumbo and Shift Boss roles. Surface miners are struggling to find genuine All-Rounders, Digger Operators and Supervisors, he said.

David recommended mining companies consider finding ways to develop their own talent as quickly as possible, by upskilling or fast-tracking the ability to upskill, where possible. More importantly, if you have a vacant role and have engaged a recruitment company to source, screen and complete due diligence, jump on the candidate submitted now!


Mining People International has more than 25 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