With the increase in defence projects set for the next decade, the Australian skilled and semi-skilled workforce is a highly sought after commodity, and an absolutely essential one for Defence to achieve success with future project timetables.
RPR Trades managing director Darren Da Costa told Defence Connect that this battle for tradespeople is especially prevalent in Sydney.
“There's so much going on here in terms of infrastructure and engineering, which is great, but there's an absolute war for talent that we're right in the middle of,” he said.
“I think, certainly in Sydney, there's an understanding of that. Companies are looking seriously at how they put a good proposition forward that's going to differentiate and appeal to people. Our business is Brisbane-based.
“We had this experience not long ago through mining and construction booms. There were some valuable lessons to be learned from that and some of the pressure on labour costs that arose as a result.
“That can't be the only solution.
“It's part of it, but there's so many other aspects that can be considered. Key to that is career progression and career development, so the people have skills that they can take elsewhere once this cycle is through.”
When asked about how Defence can better attract the appropriate workforce, Da Costa said it came down to more than just money.
“The appeal in defence is there's the stability, the security. What people are challenged with in construction environments and resourcing environments, or resources, are often locations, difficult rosters and fly-in, fly-out work.
“Those elements put pressure on family life. That's become much more of a consideration for those in skilled and semi-skilled blue collar roles than ever before.
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“There's security, there's good earning potential and there's good career progression. For me, defence ticks all of those boxes.”