Competitive remuneration and benefits packages and innovative workforce planning strategies
We anticipate we will recruit approximately 2000 new and replacement roles in 2012, so attracting and retaining capable employees remains critical.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia offers competitive remuneration packages supported by a range of complementary benefits for employees. These include provision of flexible working arrangements, subsidised private medical insurance, a safety net for medical expenses not covered by Medicare or private health insurance, subsidies for a range of health and wellness activities, an incentive scheme linked to business performance and salary packaging.
Our business offers eligible employees up to 36 weeks paid parental leave, independent of government assistance, to help them balance work and family commitments They can choose to take their paid parental leave over 18 weeks at full pay, or take the option of extending their leave to 36 weeks at half pay.
We are also committed to ensuring our work rosters are meeting the needs of our workforce. During 2011, Hail Creek Mine pro-actively engaged with operational teams in critical skill disciplines to gain their feedback on roster arrangements. Their input has been incorporated into the site's planning, resulting in a number of new rosters being introduced and in turn increasing the retention of employees within the team.
In consideration of the current competitive labour market within the resources industry and the growth of our business, sourcing sufficient capable new employees is a critical issue. In 2011 Rio Tinto Coal Australia implemented a range of sourcing strategies and programmes to meet our workforce planning demands, including:
A pilot to recruit operators on a regional and proactive basis.
• Offering apprenticeships and traineeships to Indigenous people as a part of our commitment to building the skills capacity of the Aboriginal community and supporting their transition into meaningful career pathways.
• Recruiting for our Business Improvement and Asset Management Programme, a step-change initiative dedicated to supporting future growth. During 2011, the programme identified a group of 170 roles key to enabling this growth, and successfully filled 120 of these opportunities, with the remainder to be recruited in 2012.
• Participation in government jobs and skills programmes; such as the Queensland Government's Work for Mining and gas jobs expos held in October and November 2011 on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Airlie Beach.
• A targeted international sourcing campaign for mining engineers has had proven success, and the framework will be applied to other key disciplines in future.
During 2011 our total employment turnover rate remained about the same as 2010, at 10 per cent. Our turnover of professional roles decreased from 20 per cent to 16 per cent.
To assist the Queensland government in planning for social infrastructure and services, Rio Tinto Coal Australia submits future workforce data to the Office of Economic and Statistical Research for their Resource Projects Employment Survey. This annual survey is used to estimate the size, distribution and residential status of current and future construction and operational workforces of mining and gas projects in the Bowen Basin. This information is used to improve the accuracy of population projections for resource regions and allows service providers to better assess the expected level of demand for services in these areas.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia seeks to support and contribute to sustainable and resilient communities. To this end we support local employment where possible. There are, however, good reasons why fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) employment will be an increasing and essential feature of resource sector operations in Australia. These include the high demand for labour, particularly during construction phases, lack of suitably skilled local people in many regions, lack of suitable accommodation and the desire of many mine personnel and their families to live in areas with greater amenities or existing social and familial connections.
It should also be emphasised that, in addition to sourcing FIFO employees from large capital cities, FIFO programmes also provide opportunities for jobseekers living in regional communities which may have limited local employment options, thus enabling the economic benefits of mining to be spread more widely throughout regional Australia.
Of our total employees, 73 per cent are currently residential, with the remainder either on bus-in/bus-out (BIBO), drive-in/drive-out (DIDO) or FIFO rosters.
Our only operation to utilise FIFO arrangements is the Clermont Mine in central Queensland. In 2011, more than 50 per cent of our Clermont mine employees resided locally in Clermont, while the remainder commuted on a FIFO or DIDO roster.
We are implementing a range of initiatives to increase the residential proportion of our Clermont workforce. For example, as a part of the Clermont Preferred Futures strategy the housing shortage in Clermont was considered; we currently have a wait list of FIFO employees who would like to live locally. As a result, Rio Tinto Coal Australia has committed to supporting private developers to build 100 new homes in the community. This involves Rio Tinto Coal Australia committing to a three year lease of 50 per cent of the total houses built which our employees will rent from the owner/agent. We will continue to rent the properties should the homes remain vacant.
While on roster, FIFO employees live onsite at the Clermont Mine accommodation village, about 15 minutes north of Clermont town. Clermont town therefore hosts a residential workforce as well as a FIFO one.
To read more about our approach to FIFO workforce arrangements read our submission to the Federal House of Representatives Inquiry into the use of 'fly-in/ fly-out' (FIFO) workforce practices in regional Australia.
Since Hail Creek Mine commenced operations in 2003, the site has been focused on employing people from the local region. To assist this approach, Hail Creek Mine operates a BIBO travel arrangement from Mackay, where employees stay in onsite village style accommodation while they are working on shift. Approximately 80 per cent of Hail Creek Mine employees are based out of Mackay and the surrounding region.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia considers workforce strategies on a project by project basis and will continue to do so into the future.