A recent study by the Australian Industry Group has found that the blue-collar skills shortage in Australia will only be exacerbated over the next few years due to our ageing workforce. As more companies compete for skilled employees, there are three things you can do to navigate the Australian blue-collar skills shortage to your company’s competitive advantage.

Reduce reliance on recruitment agencies

Rather than turning to a recruitment agency, many businesses find it more effective to recruit from within their own resource pools. In so doing, they can capitalise on their existing company culture and build an internal workforce that’s already equipped with a range of transferable skills.  If you have a competitive advantage over other organisations in your field, the second port of call is to consider workers outside your industry. Many skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen are open to changing industries if they believe a new opportunity will help them advance their careers. You can also tap into state or territory-based government programs designed to facilitate skill transfers between different sectors — this is particularly useful for certain trades where there is a shortage of local workforces, such as mining.

Proactive workforce planning

While it can be tempting to use labour-hire staff for difficult-to-fill roles, there are considerable benefits to building up a workforce planning framework. Working with industry groups,  long-term skill development strategies and using advanced software like MyPass®, businesses can create strategic pools of skilled workers with specific training for positions within their company. By proactively investing in your workforce planning today, you’ll have an advantage over other companies tomorrow. Remaining competitive over the long term relies on having qualified employees on hand when needed. For those living outside major cities, the ability to offer competitive salaries is essential to attract talent from larger cities or internationally — and without access to a large workforce base, many small businesses must turn towards filling these crucial roles through hiring through recruitment agencies. This may work as a stopgap solution for some situations but ultimately risks both productivity and worker engagement.

Build your own resource pools to gain a competitive advantage

If you can pull your employees from a large resource pool, you’ll have a competitive advantage over other businesses in your field — and a more stable workforce, which in turn significantly reduces recruitment costs. By keeping a close eye on trends and forecasting your future labour needs, you can plan for growth and better serve both existing customers and potential clients. After all, there’s no use being at full capacity for one month if that workload is only temporary. With careful planning, however, you can provide consistent service while still remaining agile enough to scale up or down, depending on how much work there is.

There are many ways to build a resource pool of qualified workers, some of which require a lot of effort to maintain. If you are currently implementing this strategy or planning to, consider reaching out to the team at MyPass®. They have expertise in helping companies to use their award-winning software to gain a competitive advantage and ensure continuity of supply.