Skill Shortage: Case Study

1        The resource companies appear to have been caught unawares by the shortage of skilled and professional labour. Why?

Skill Shortage

The resource companies are unaware of technical changes in their workforce as a result of the need for high technology requirement as we tend towards globalization.  The skilled and professionals in the organization are very willing to keep pace with the advancement in technology, a fact mostly neglected by resource companies.  (James, William, 2004). This results to the shifting to other scenarios, which are favourable to their needs.  This leaves a vacuum in their previous positions.  The labour force available to fill the vacuum lacks the necessary experience thus skills creating the problem of skills shortage.

The other area is the ignorance of resource companies to update human resource training.  The companies are suddenly met with the automation of the required skills.  This calls for retraining of the existing labour force, which is costly, and time consuming.  There is a vacuum in the resource companies due to the failure to translate the advancing technology to the applicability in the business.  The companies also lack highly qualified consultancy working in a modern style to analyze the possible techniques and equate them with practical business.

2        What are the implications for industrial relations in the resources sector?

 The federal parliament in Australia is empowered by the constitution to make laws concerning conciliation and arbitration for the settlement and prevention of industrial disputes extending beyond the limit of any one state. The laws made with respect to trading and financial corporations fall within the limits of the commonwealth and foreign corporations. Industrial relations systems and wages setting have been enhanced by this system also known as work choice, which came into operation in 2006. (Armstrong, 2002)

            A wide range of flexibility in work organizations and practice out of these agreements have resulted to the following positive attributes: hours of work has been better balanced to allow for work and personal life, allowances have been rationalized, remunerations arrangements have been made more flexible an productivity has been boasted through a number of measures. (Bernard, Reams 1994)

            The importance of the workplace relations and other Legislation Amendments Acts 1996 such as the Work choice Relations Act is immensely overwhelming. This is highlighted in their ability to displace the Industrial Relations Court of Australia, which was transferred to other courts mainly the federal courts of Australia. The earlier legislations such as the industrial laws were quite detrimental to employees at the advantage of the employer since the employers could fire workers and slash wages at will without any serious action taken on the part of the employer. The negligence on the part of the employer could not be overlooked since the negligence also bear some negative impact on the part of the employer. This arises from the fact that the employee dissatisfaction has a direct relationship with the ultimate potential output of the employee. (Bischoff, 1985)

3        How might a more rigorous approach to HR planning have helped individual firms to address the labour shortage problem?

The areas of effort concentration by H. R. planning for the purpose of addressing the labour shortage problem include the following.  The workforce in existence should be modeled to adapt quickly to the changing technologies in a bid to reduce turnover. (Charles, Coleman, Theodora, Hayness 1997). This is achievable by assigning each staff the relevant duty related to the skills of the employee.  The employee should be equitably remunerated to boost the morale and enhance the adaptability.  Thus the company needs to create a huge capital pool for the purpose.  Most of the H.R. efforts should orient towards the employees rather than the business itself.  The understanding that human resources is the main important, yet most expensive of the production resources should be the guiding factor in this project.  The strategic planning in the resource company should be linked to the human resources management to allow adaptability of the future threat to the opportunities in the company. (Thrope, and Homan, 2000).  What employees look for in their workplace is the benefits derived after their efforts and therefore this should be at the forefront. The highly skilled employees should be awarded security of tenure to give them more sense of security. The incorporation of work force diversity is also healthy towards the imminent problem of labour shortage. (Bennett, 1994, James, William, 2004).

4        What can they do regarding staff training and development?

In any business organization goods and service delivery are of crucial importance as this is the final stage of the link of production. The quality of goods and services is to a large extent a determinant to the extend of dedication, well training and competency of the staff. The system should adopt a staffing standard that provide an opportunity to create an affordable staffing pattern that maximizes benefits of professional credentials skills and peer experiences. Recruiting and training the best employees is needed, so as to ensure they are of high performance and ensuring that the personnel and management practices conform to various regulations.  (Clement, Asante 1997).

Evaluation into the competence, experience and skills of the staff is a prerequisite. The peer relationship should also be assessed since failure on part of one member of staff may not necessarily reflect a failure in the entire system. (James, William, 2004)

5. What are some of the remuneration options available to resource firms?

Reward strategy defines the intentions of the organization and how its reward policies and processes should be developed to meet business requirements (Armstrong, 2002). Effective reward strategy is based on corporate values and beliefs, flows from the business strategy which gives the business the basis on which it will complete as it hinges on a company capabilities, strength and weakness in relation to market characteristics and corresponding strength and weakness of competitors. (Williams, 1998). The reward strategy is driven by business needs and fit business strategies, it align organization and indicates competencies, it is integrated with other personnel and development strategies, it provide the reward of results and behavior linked to business performance, it is adopting to the company strategy perspective, it is practical and implementable as it has to consult all key stakeholders in the organization and allow the participation of other employees in decision making. The aim of this is to ensure it support initiatives in resourcing of employees and overall goal development for organization performance. (Hama Lengwwa, Flinterman, 1988).

            The content of a reward system is competitive pay, achieving a more equitable and definable pay system, using pay as a lever for performance improvement and culture change in an organization. Devolution of pay decision to line manages in the organization, developing teamwork, increasing level of competence by training employees so as to acquire the relevant skills as well as involve participation of employees in the decision making in issues that affect them in the organization.


Armstrong, M. Employee reward, 3rd Ed. CIPD publishing

Bennett, L. (1994) James, William, 2004. Making Labour Law in Australia: Industrial Relations

Politics and Law, Sydney, Law Book Co.

Bernard, D. Reams (1994). Federal Legislative Histories. Greenwood Press. ISBN-13:978-0313230929.

Bischoff, R. (1985). Australian Labour Law. Melbourne, University of Melbourne.

Charles, J. Coleman, Theodora T. Hayness (1997). Labour and Employment Arbitration. ISBN-

13: 978-0801434402.

Clement, E. Asante (1997). Press Freedom and Development. Greenwood Press. ISBN-13: 978-


Hama Lengwwa M., C. Flinterman (1988). The International Law of Human Rights in Africa: Basic

Documents and Annotated Bibliography (Hardcover). Kluwer Law International. ISBN-13: 978-


Marshall, D. The four elements of successful management: Select Direct, Evaluate, Reward, Amacom div America Management Assn, 1999.

Robbins, S. Human resource management, John Wiley, 1999.

Thrope, R. and Homan, G. Strategic reward system. Prentice Hall, 2000

Williams G.  (1998). Labour Laws and the Constitution. Federation Press. ISBN (1862873089).

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