Inaugural Business Breakfast: “Skill Shortages – Crisis or Opportunity”

18th February 2011, Waldorf Hotel, Mounts Bay Road, Perth

Globe 24-7’s inaugural Business Breakfast concluded successfully with many delegates heading off to work feeling full from both from the delicious breakfast and a plethora of thoughts following our guest speaker’s discussion: “Skill Shortages – Crisis or Opportunity”.

Mr Bill Plyley, former COO of La Mancha Resources was invited to speak on this topical issue. This is clearly a passionate subject for Bill, and he was quickly able to challenge “the norm”; raising many questions (and presenting innovative ideas) in regard to dealing with increasing skill shortages in a booming resource economy.  Highlighting the very broad and interesting experiences from his own career, Bill clearly defined that recruiting and retaining the right people with the right attitude was critical to any successful organisation. Bill reinforced that in any labour market, standards in regard to people skills and attitude should not be compromised. However, willingness to be adaptable and accept change within the organisation was also critical to ensuring survival through a skill shortage.

Bill used an example of a former employee of his that had been recruited from the hospitality sector. The employee had absolutely no previous mining industry experience; however they possessed exceptional people skills coupled with drive and determination. The people skills and positive attitude of this employee ensured their induction and training was easy.  Further, this particular employee went on to play a significant role in an HR and recruitment function, contributing significantly to the success of the operation.

Embracing a skill shortage as an opportunity and seeking out revolutionary and innovative ideas to source a ready and willing workforce are keys to success, Bill emphasised.  To successfully create opportunity, rather than crisis, from a skill shortage, Bill recommends:

  • being adaptable
  • being innovative
  • promoting a winning culture
  • looking outside the region
  • looking outside the mining industry
  • remunerating appropriately (not excessively)
  • focusing on people skills and attitude (technical skills can be enhanced and developed)
  • maintaining respect at all times (especially respect for “differences”).

This inaugural Globe 24-7 Business Breakfast has successfully set the foundation for an ongoing, quarterly forum for interesting and involving discussion on topical issues affecting the mining industry, which Globe 24-7 will facilitate. We look forward to seeing those that attended again next time, to meeting new attendees and to future contributions from guest speakers.

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