There is no great surprise with a recent announcement that Western Australian, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are struggling due to the downturn in the resources and manufacturing sectors. And Western Australia – the country’s “resources capital” – has come in at 6th, compared to 5th for the last quarter.
What does this mean for employment and what are the opportunities which may or may not be there as a result?
I have been reported in the media several times during the past year suggesting a return to what I term “The Three C’s”; that is to say workforces. This seems to be a far better option to employing full-time employees (FTE) through permanent placements.
Given the volatility of the market for far longer than anticipated, it makes sense for many businesses to adopt this model, as no one can tell us when this rather large “hiccup” will all be over!
We are noticing a big shift in shutdown and casual/contract opportunities, which in essence means that when times are slow; it is essential to downsize your workforce.
Contingent workforces have been in play for a long time, and I believe more and more people are realising that this may be a good thing; not only for them personally, but also for the company engaging them.
Alternative work arrangements are seen as a strategic approach by companies, as often these arrangements better suit the person and their family situation. Generally,they attract an independent professional workforce and consultants who are experts in their field; resulting in a win-win situation for both parties.
This model often reduces company’s costs and risk mitigation due to the difference in managing such a workforce; although it may have a slightly negative effect if these people aren’t truly engaged by being made to feel unimportant and only seen as working on an “as needed” basis.
Fixed term contract options have been around for a long while, and we are seeing a return to these types of roles also. Whether for the duration of a specific project or to fill the needs of a business for a defined timeframe, fixed term contract options give employees a positive amount of stability. As such, this option is seen to be a more engaging and encouraging workforce opportunity.
Another consideration is casual employment, either by means of labour hire; or by being employed as a casual directly through a company. Again there are both pros and cons to this arrangement, but we are seeing a strong return to this model.
The million dollar question is….. how long will this last for? ….. I say, how long is a piece of string?
More and more businesses are having to make calculated strategic decisions based on more than just the price of ore, but I do think that companies will increasingly look to adopt one, any or several of these options. They will be one step ahead of their competition, not only with their talent but from a cost perspective as well.
There is once again an argument of positive and negative outcomes for individuals and employers but let us look at the pros for the individuals and the company.
Pros for the individuals
- Not being tied down to an FTE role and therefore having the flexibility to undertake other responsibilities and tasks such as caring for loved ones, raising a family, extra study,
- As a general rule, this model offers a higher rate of pay.
Pros for the company
- Cost savings for the company.
- Access to industry experts without additional employment costs and benefits.
- Risk reduction.
Cons for the individual
- Limited or no personal leave entitlements and the worker must carry personal risk and insurances.
- No guarantee of regular income or dedicated hours unless under a fixed term contract.
- Often the need to develop relationships in order to be continuously employed.
- “Take it or leave it” scenario with regards to projects and opportunities for individuals.
- Non-inclusion as being part of a team and in having security in a job.
Cons for the employer
- Lack of loyalty towards the employer/company due to the nature of the employment arrangement.
- Loss of control regarding duties performed by the independent worker.
Dani Tamati – (MRCSA) (CDAA – member) – dip HR │dip OHS is a Resource Industry Recruitment Specialist, Careers Practitioner, Diversity Advocate, Mentor, Principal, FIFO Wife and a Mum of 4
Dani established “THE resources HUB” (THErh) in 2012 as a careers, talent, recruitment and managed services company dedicated to the resources industries including civil, construction, mining and oil and gas; herself having 22 years experience in living, working, recruiting and career coaching in the sector. THE resources HUB can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter and our website www.therh.com.au or phone us on 08 9295 5722 or 0499 841 722
Dani Tamati: About Dani Tamati
MiningLink: The Resources Hub! Who we are and what we do?
Jobs and Services: The Resources Hub Recruitment and HR Capabilities
Government of Western Australia North Metropolitan TAFE: Get into Resources