It’s been more than a year since COVID came to Australia, and more than a year since many industry leaders throughout the country took a deep breath and wondered how they would survive.
We heard the overused buzzword ‘unprecedented’ to describe the pandemic, and for many that seemed accurate – it was a new experience and MACFORCE, like many other business, wasn’t sure how the pandemic would impact us or if the industry would come to a halt. After the initial shock of information filtered through the industry, it didn’t take long to realise that with a few adjustments, it could carry on.
In January, February and March the industry was finding its feet, but by the time June and July rolled around, MACFORCE had doubled our internal workforce and in the number of candidates we were mobilising, and this continued until the end of 2020.
This growth seemed to be reflected in the industry with reports in November 2020 showing that the mining industry held the largest share of the economy with 10.4 percent in 2019 – 2020; a true backbone of the economy.
With any big event like this for industry, there’s always learnings and observations to take away, and here’s what we at MACFORCE observed.
#1 – The mining industry is resilient
Besides a natural disaster, a pandemic is right up there as a horrible occurrence that can eliminate an industry overnight. What it showed for the mining and resources industry was how resilient it is, and super flexible. The mining and resources industry is an industry built on logistics; it manages the movements and livelihoods of high volumes of people each day. So if any sector was going to thrive through a pandemic with new safety rules and regulations in place, it was this industry.
#2 – A pause in business isn’t always a bad thing
During the first lockdown as the sector was adjusting, we were able to pause and reconsider processes, which enabled us to streamline quarantine and transport practices, while getting our candidates inducted and ready for when they were able to get on site. We relied on a strong referral network in getting local WA skilled workers, before we had confidence we could get back to bringing in workers from interstate.
#3 – Companies needed to care for their people
There was a great deal of anxiety throughout 2020, particularly with the uncertainly of jobs, and companies that cared for their employees fared much better than those that didn’t. It was also a reminder to be kind to one another – employee to employee, and to ourselves. For many it was a tough year, but a great demonstration of resilience. Many FIFO workers showed this by choosing to stay on site for longer to avoid risking not being able to come back on site. They did this to alleviate any stressors of being without income, particularly if family members in other industries had been affected.
The pandemic should show that a job in mining and resources is one with certainly, and if anything, the pandemic has made it more secure. We saw this in red tape being slashed to speed up mining approvals, and the commitment from the Federal Government to boost infrastructure which will hold the industry in great stead.
We look forward to the year ahead and to things getting back to the ‘normal’ we once knew. But for the mining industry, we look ahead with certainly and confidence that it can continue to provide opportunities for many Australians.
If you’re a candidate or client looking for recruitment support, get in touch with MACFORCE via firstname.lastname@example.org.