25th February 2016
Candidate attraction in regional areas
As we look to 2016 as the year of the Mega project and for that matter, the year that just might save the QLD Civil Construction sector, both candidate attraction and retention will again be a hot topic in the on-going hunt for top talent as we see the labour market tighten once again.
Now, I’ve been in the human resources sector for close to twelve years now, with half of that spent in the Northern Territory resources sector and the other, in the Queensland market. All the while, being witness to the ever-changing and cyclical supply and demand that is the construction labour market.
In the Northern Territory, it was and to some extent still is the Mega project that is the Ichthys LNG putting pressure on the market both locally and interstate, in Queensland it was the triple LNG of GLNG, APLNG and QCLNG all playing their own part on creating that false economy or bubble we all have come to know way too well.
In the months to come, South East Queensland will see several of the larger infrastructure projects kicking off, including the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, Gateway upgrade north, Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade, Cooroy to Curra section C, Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway and the Gold Coast Light Rail stage 2 just to name a few. So, in turn the attraction and retention of highly technical civil construction workers in regional centres will again become critical leading into the second half of 2016 and together with record Infrastructure spending interstate, strategies on how an organisation can, not only attract, but retain their workforce will be paramount!
I recently met up with the management team of a large civil contractor within a major QLD regional centre a while back and discussed at great length, the benefits of a solid attraction and retention strategy leading into the first half of this year.
They have now, not only developed but Implemented a rock-solid strategy, including non-monetary benefits and flexible working arrangements. The same business, within the recent LNG boom had experienced major attraction issues and like many other contractors in this regional town, had even increased monetary benefits up to 100% of normal market conditions just to get good technical candidates to take up offers of employment!
Some of the strategies that have been Implemented by regional contractors, in an effort to attract the workforce needed have centred around moving head office operations to Brisbane and therefore being able to offer a centralised point located within the most populated area and therefore attracting the best employees, providing a FIFO or DIDO type workforce.
For regional centres in Queensland to benefit from the latest infrastructure investment, one must truly advocate for the implementation of localised attraction and retention strategies, which will in turn enable local businesses to adequately employ the best workers for the many opportunities available within the market at the moment.
Together with myself, there are many business consultants, specialising in improving local content within the market at the moment; however, my ‘go-to’ guys in the South East are John Abraham and Keith Williams from Blue Sky Economic Development. I highly recommend these guys if you want to improve your chances to gain entry onto the mega project platform.
As always, my door is always open and my phone is always answered!