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How Western Australian workers can grow their career despite the mining downturn
11 February 2015
There’s no denying that Western Australia has seen a tough 12 months, but the state won’t lie down for long. As I wrote in my last blog post, there is plenty of positive speculation about new investment in our local resources; we’re just in a holding pattern waiting to see what comes after the mining boom.
Many employees in the West Australian marketplace have only known growth in their careers, so the last 12 months of pain have been a shock to the system. With this lack of understanding about a declining economy comes a lack of acceptance – only knowing boom times, many employees are unwilling to accept that they’re over. Yet this unfamiliar, almost immature attitude to the recent decline in market conditions could be exactly what we need to help kick-start the WA economy.
Patience is a virtue
In the current market, I recommend Western Australians show a little patience but remain upbeat. Being a cynical Brit at heart (despite working in the local market for 11 years) the Australian “glass half full” attitude never ceases to amaze me and adopting this attitude has only ever had a positive impact on my business. Don’t accept defeat, keep trying new ways of driving revenue/profit lines and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I encourage all of my staff to drive new initiatives; doing nothing and resting on your laurels is not going to work in the current environment.
RELATED: What comes after the mining boom?
Professionals need to be aware that, in the current employment market, they will probably be working harder for less financial reward in the short term. But this is a good time to make a mark and stand out from the crowd. If you can improve your skill set and move forward in the current market there is no limit to what you can achieve as business confidence returns.
Finding growth in the slump
Clearly, the mining sector is continuing to face challenges but there are still significant opportunities to grow revenues. In my business for example, we have switched our focus from resources projects to the more buoyant residential/commercial construction market. Furthermore, many of my local contacts believe Western Australia is witnessing a new wave of investment into high tech business ventures as high risk/high reward investors move away from the more traditional resources stocks. This again can offer new opportunities. Irrespective of what is driving the local market, we are all aware that optimism and positivity play a significant role in aiding economic recovery.
Don’t accept defeat, keep trying new ways of driving revenue/profit lines and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
We’re seeing early signs of stabilisation and growth in the local employment market. Over the last two to three months recruitment activity has increased significantly in the junior to mid level end of the professional market, and as we settle into a new financial year the local business community seem satisfied conditions are not getting any worse and many organisations are therefore starting to scope out new opportunities to grow. A number of our clients are actively increasing their sales force which is a lead indicator in the market that business is picking up. These sales teams are focused on maintaining existing client relationships and driving the acquisition of new clients as many businesses look to seize on opportunities where competitors have cut their teams too deep. Keep up the optimism and Western Australia can quickly return to prosperous times.
The Western Australian downturn has been a shock to many WA workers who are used to growth. Our advice to workers is:
- Be patient and remain upbeat
- Be prepared to accept less financial reward for some roles
- Shift your focus and look for opportunities in other areas, such as property and construction