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International and interstate employees in the mining industry

How mining companies can achieve high retention rates with their international and interstate employees.

With six of the top 10 listed ASX mining companies’ headquarters based in Perth, it’s no secret that WA is leading Australia’s mining production. This has contributed to the dramatic increase in migration to the state over the last 12 months, as tradespeople and technicians relocate for better career opportunities and wages in the mining industry.

However, the industry is still facing huge critical skills shortages and struggling with staff retention like never before. Blue Tongue, as a consultancy and employer that has assisted more than 1,000 skilled workers relocate to WA through its upskilling and international hiring programs since 2005, knows that providing a high level of employee support is a key factor in staff retention and maintaining workforce stability in the mining industry.

While the FIFO lifestyle has some great benefits such as bigger wages and more time off, it is not without its challenges. Working 12-hour shifts on remote mine sites for two weeks on and one week off takes some serious adjusting to. For those who have moved to WA to work a FIFO roster in the mining industry, it’s vital that employers recognise the extra challenges they face and provide them with the necessary support.

At Blue Tongue we have spent decades reinventing the way to solve skills shortages in the industry and, with a 93% employee retention rate, we know that when you invest in your employees and support them every step of their career journey, you gain a loyal workforce and higher retention rates.

With our international employees, it starts with the relationship we build with candidates well before they leave Africa to work for Blue Tongue and our clients in Australia. Our support team assists them in completing their visa applications and to quickly get through the process, as well as finding accommodation for them, and preparing the necessities and inductions that will enable them to settle into life and their new job with Blue Tongue in Australia.

Blue Tongue fully commits to supporting them every step of the way with a 4-year visa and a contract working for our leading partner clients in the mining industry. Our expert consultants provide in-depth inductions with cultural and employment advice.  We regularly visit them onsite to check they are settling in and liaise with their supervisors at work. We assist in bringing their families to Australia after they have settled and help them navigate the permanent resident visas process. In short, they become part of our Blue Tongue family, coming into our office for chats and advice when they are not rostered on, and attending our regular social events.

We provide that same high level of support to our employees who have relocated from the eastern states with regular onsite visits, catch ups, inductions, employee resolution advice for their entire journey with us. Because we invest in their training to upskill and gain a qualification through our unique Advanced Group Training Programs, we are with them every step of their journey while they work for one of our partner clients. We know that without this support, we wouldn’t have a 93% retention rate.

There are many challenges that come with relocating from another country or interstate and, as an employer, it is our responsibility to make sure that we do everything we can to support our employees so they can integrate as seamlessly as possible. Evidence shows that when employers provide genuine support for employees who have relocated from another country or state, they benefit from increased loyalty, higher retention rates and a more productive workforce.