Poll results: how are mining job seekers finding their jobs?

A man in the Australian mining industry looks through a pair of binoculars.

Want to know exactly how mining jobseekers are finding new positions these days? So did we! So we asked people and here’s what they said.

What did we learn? Well, some of the results were as expected. Others, however, were a big surprise.

We received another excellent response with just under 200 mining job seekers voting in this latest poll, conducted during September 2019.

The question was a simple one: How did you find your last mining job?

Here are the results:
Job ad in a newspaper 3.85%
Job ad on a job's website 30.17%
Through a recruitment agency 18.03%
Through a word of mouth recommendation 30.22%
Through a LinkedIn connection 8.79%
Through Facebook or some other social media channel 3.30%
Some other way (please specify) 5.64%

So what does this tell us?

5 things we learnt about how jobseekers are finding mining jobs

Newspapers are no longer the ‘go to place’

We suspect other than for the occasional role, and probably in regional mining communities where the local paper is targeted, this is almost an exhausted method. No new news here!

Social channels are not yet delivering much

Two years ago, we asked the same question of mining jobseekers and the result was 5%. This is consistent with our own observation that while social channels create a lot of “noise” and volume, they create other challenges for employers and recruiters (what good is noise and volume if it doesn’t deliver?).

Is LinkedIn starting to deliver?

At almost 9%, it would certainly seem LinkedIn is starting to get results for mining jobseekers. At Mining People, our recruiters also use their LinkedIn connections to source candidates, so we would expect some of this 8.79% is likely to be activity initiated by recruiters.    

Recruitment agency versus direct via the end employer

Firstly, let us state that the option “job ad on a jobs website” was probably too broad, and takes in too many potential options – a fact that is likely to have muddied the figures. For example, the 30% attributed to job boards would almost certainly include adverts placed by employers directly, as well as those placed by recruitment agencies.

Realising this, we asked our researcher to take a deep dive into the first 100 jobs on seek.com’s “mining resources and energy” job board. That revealed 43% of the job ads listed on the country’s most popular jobs website were from principal employers, with the other 57% placed by recruitment firms.

So it is fair to say the 18.03% attributed to the recruitment agency category in our results, would be boosted after adding back some of the 30% of hires attributed to job boards. The 18% could be quite a bit higher, perhaps 20-25% or more.

Coupled with our own anecdotal observations that consultants in recruitment firms use social media more effectively than their in-house counterparts, we would expect the ~12% of hires attributed in some way to social channels and Linked In to have also been initiated by agency recruiters, further boosting their contribution, perhaps to between 25% and 30%.  We’ll need to tighten this up in future polls.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” remains king!

Word-of-mouth recommendation remains an incredibly big contributor to hires, and is surely why every good recruitment scheme has an effective, and properly promoted, candidate referral program.

Finally, a word of caution about these results    

These statistics provide no insight into the quality of hires made from each source.

Our observation is this is an incredibly important nuance to understand. As a team, we have quite a strong view, based on our daily observed experience, that it’s not just the source of the hire that is crucial, but also who is managing the hiring process. There can be widely different outcomes between using internal recruiters and using agencies. In some cases it can result in much lower quality hires and, in other cases, much higher ones.

We will most likely make this the topic of a future poll, so keep an eye out for it.

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Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)