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High value skills sought in WA jobs market
With the heady days of the mining boom behind us in WA, there’s been an increase in the number of highly skilled jobseekers with specific mining industry backgrounds. Employers from other sectors are becoming more open minded about hiring these staff, seeing it as an opportunity to capitalise on the valuable skills they bring.
It’s important to enable employers in growth sectors to look for skillsets and the value someone can add to a position. Relying on ‘like for like’ recruitment based on specific job descriptions doesn’t allow for the potential growth candidates may be able to bring to a business thanks to their other skills.
The technical qualifications required for a role are still sought but increasingly, hires are made based on interpersonal, communication and leadership qualities. It’s those soft skills which can make the difference for a company trying to decide between one qualified candidate and another, regardless of industry background.
How WA growth markets and salaries have changed
The employment landscape in WA has changed dramatically in the past few years. Around 70% of Michael Page’s WA recruitment was being done in the resources sector only three or four years ago; now that figure has dropped to somewhere between 20-30%.
Current jobs growth is being led by non-mining industries including healthcare, aged care, not-for-profit, automotive, education and media. Positions in these industries are averaging a 5-10% increase on salaries for newly created roles.
Much of the current mining recruitment is being done for companies who are looking to increase market share within mining operations and services. Salaries have increased on average 7-10% in the sector, with IT project roles, project engineering and HR workforce planning emerging as areas of need for employers.
WA’s like-for-like employment tradition
WA has in the past been associated with an employment mindset of hiring within defined industries, on a level not seen in markets on the East coast.
Those other markets have traditionally looked for recruits with diverse backgrounds and broad skills such as the ability to sell, manage large accounts and map market trends. Until a couple of years ago, though, WA employers remained on the hunt primarily for candidates with job histories closely aligned with their companies.
This like-for-like phenomenon has not been driven solely by employers. The staggering growth in the mining sector last decade led to the industry becoming a desirable one for job seekers. Because role availability and financial rewards were comparatively higher than in most sectors, a cohort of specialist market and industry experts emerged where staff might look to change jobs and move up the ladder, but with very similar businesses.
Recruit differently, hire successfully
Because the resources boom in WA has eased, companies in other industries are able to access highly skilled staff they may not have attracted a few years ago. For recruiters, this has meant a shift in the way candidates are presented to employers, with skills and personality driving the value proposition of a job seeker.
Engaging with companies outside mining services has enabled Michael Page to understand the growth plans of different businesses and to consult on the requirements of a company rather than a single role.
Companies in a growth phase can benefit from an assessment of their future needs, which enables them to go out and employ staff with the skills to achieve the growth they’re looking for.
Giving businesses a different viewpoint is key. Instead of looking at a job description and working backwards to find someone to fit it, companies should look at key deliverables moving forward.
High-level leadership qualities most sought
Key traits being sought by employers can be widely categorised as personality leadership qualities. These include great communication, the ability to influence and the ability to lead. Those skills are sought at every job level, along with the abilities to manage costs and diversify revenue streams. In the current WA economy, it’s all about employees who can help grow a business.
The days of vastly accelerated market progression might be behind us for now, but there’s plenty of room for job seekers and companies alike to achieve growth by maximising the skills they bring to the table.