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How to ensure you are not hit by a skilled labour shortage

In today’s labour hire market, the demand for skilled labourers is at an all-time high, with a multitude of job vacancies waiting to be filled. Although not a ‘hot topic’ of conversation, labour hire companies across the board are struggling to fill these open positions and agree that a serious skills shortage is being faced.

How is this occurring? With a boost in the economy following the most recent economic downturn, many companies began announcing hundreds of newly created jobs on a regular basis. Whilst this was overtly positive, it was only at surface level. They trended in pigeonholing themselves by solely relying on very small talent pools from which they were willing to place candidates. Ultimately, this has resulted in a skilled labour shortage as the supply of candidates are unable to meet the demand for the industry-specific labour. Confidence has slowly begun to be restored within companies operating in the labour hire space, leading to an increase in demand for skilled labour. These include specifically heavy mobile maintenance workers, truck operators, drillers, boilermakers, welders and machinists.

With the market calling for more workers but candidates in short supply, the question of how companies can succeed in filling their job vacancies is raised.

Review job hiring factors

A great place to start in reviewing job hiring factors including age, qualifications or experience.  These need to be reviewed. Companies should place more emphasis on other factors that includes a personality or cultural fit. Relaxing these factors may open up more opportunities to have a larger candidate pool to draw upon.

A candidate who’s switched on, smart, personality suits the role and fits well culturally can learn new experience and skills quickly, and transfer these into the workforce fairly quickly. There are a number of experienced labourers in various industries currently looking for work, however their qualifications or experience do not meet the job criteria. If labour hire companies are not willing to make exemptions, to train or hire candidates who do not meet certain job factors, this trend of pigeonholing themselves is set to continue.

Consider less obvious talent pools

A general strategy many companies utilise is re-targeting employees who have previously left the industry. Whilst still a valid strategy, companies should branch out into sourcing candidates from less obvious talent pools, including candidates who are constantly overlooked.

Middle-aged workers

Too often, middle-aged, blue-collar workers are overlooked and stereotyped, leading to a lack of opportunity in a huge demographic. As an employer, this presents the opportunity for you to tap into this candidate pool and hiring mature candidates with plenty of work experience.


Women are another group that are constantly overlooked when it comes to filling labour hire positions. This is a result of the many industries that comprise manual labour being male dominated. Take advantage of the large number of skilled women working in the blue-collar sector and not only maximise productivity with extra workers, but help balance the scales for women trying to get a ‘foot in the door’ working across new industries.

School leavers and apprentices

School leavers are another talent pool able to be capitalised on in order to boost the blue collar workforce.  Many school leavers are unsure of the career path they want to go down and as business, you can take advantage of workplace initiatives, schemes or offer apprenticeships which is not only beneficial for maximising profits, but also provides school leavers invaluable experience in working alongside industry figureheads. As a result, this would increase the number of young individuals who choose the labour hire industry as their career path and consequently assist in the skilled labour shortage.

Know each peak hiring season and plan ahead

A great way to staying on top of your business competitors is to gauge when the peak hiring season is and plan ahead. This is the perfect excuse for recruitment agencies to build up their candidate base and interview them to ensure that you are not left short in workers. You can also take comfort in knowing the best candidate has been selected for the position, not just who is available.

Tackle misconceptions head on

In an ever increasing age of technology that is constantly evolving, many candidates fear that their positions have become automated, contributing to this skilled labour shortage. They have adjusted job searches accordingly and steer clear of roles they assume have been filled by machines and automations as they feel they are no longer valuable in their chosen field.  

It is the job of recruitment agencies to dispel these misconceptions, and it’s the job of businesses alike to foster human placements where possible or upskill their candidates in using these machines effectively.

In a nation with increasing numbers of labourers looking for work, both candidates and companies alike are negatively affected by this unemployment. Businesses can stay on top of their competitors by reviewing their job hiring factors, considering less obvious talent pools, knowing how to navigate the peak hiring seasons and tackling candidate misconceptions. The onus is on companies to remain competitive during labour shortages and consider the parameters in which they are searching for in skilled candidates. Starting the recruitment process earlier brings security for both candidate and business, and in a fluctuating labour hire market – security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Labour Hire, Skills, Clients, Labour Shortage

ARG Workforce

ARG Workforce is 100% Australian owned and is a leading recruitment company providing top class labour hire and recruitment services.


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