Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:34
Skilled workers in Australia's eastern states view a move west as akin to relocating overseas, with the cost of living, social isolation and remote job locations compounding reasons why they're staying put.
The finding is the upshot of a new study by researchers at Perth's Edith Cowan University.
Researchers were curious as to why resources companies were using 457 visas to import staff from overseas - a process that could cost between $7000 and $65,000 per person - at a time when the Federal Government was offering cash incentives to entice workers to cross the Nullarbor.
Project leader Susanne Bahn said government initiatives were not enough.
"Participants indicated that they had encountered reluctance from Australian recruits about relocating to WA," Dr Bahn said.
"Moving away from family and friends, the fly-in-fly-out working arrangements, a lack of social infrastructure and accommodation with reasonable rents and the perceived high cost of living were the main reasons."
As a result, resources companies were left with little alternative other than to plug recruitment gaps with migrant workers, Dr Bahn said.
She found resources companies sometimes required highly skilled workers from overseas because they had received specialist training often not available in Australia and said these people could pass on their knowledge and skills to Australian workers.
The study also found there was a lack of 'work ready' university graduates domestically, she said.
"Higher education institutions need to rethink how they deliver courses that feed the resources sector, to include more on-the-job placements for the duration of their degree."
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