Legitimisation, recruitment and retention.
Legitimisation recruitment and retention: Innovation in resource sector small firms' and workers on temporary 457 visas
In the WA resources sector some 40 percent of those workers employed on 457 visas are sponsored by small firms (those that employ less than 20 employees) (Bahn, Barratt-Pugh & Yap, forthcoming). Small firms offer services to larger firms but are generally located near the end of resource sector supply chains.
Small firms recruitment practices are not known for their innovativeness. Moreover, firm size and power (Bair 2008) affects the attractiveness and legitimacy of firms as potential employers (Williamson 2000). The resources and opportunities offered by larger resource sector firms in WA’s tight labour market, enhances their attractiveness and legitimacy as preferred employers. How can small firms compete for skilled labour?
The research questions driving this study include:
- What is the experience of small firms in the resources sector in terms of legitimacy and attractiveness as employers?
- Are 457 visas used as a means to overcome those issues?
- What are the costs of using 457 visa workers in small firms
- Is the use of 457 visas part of a deliberate strategy of firm growth?
Interviews will be conducted with 20 small firm owner-managers in the resources sector that employ workers on 457 visas. The purpose of the interviews is to determine:
- What recruitment strategies these small firms employ, and what their experience of different strategies has been;
- Owner-managers’ perceptions of the skill shortage in relation to their specific business needs;
- Rationale for employing 457 visa workers; and
- Owner-managers’ assessment of the costs and benefits for their firm.
In addition, 10 workers employed on 457 visas will be interviewed to explore how they were attracted to the small firm and the role the 457 visas play in their assessment of the legitimacy and attractiveness of small firms as an employer.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) are supporting the research with access to their membership database. AMMA is a key association supporting firms operating in the resources sector. If you would like further information or wish to be involved in the research, please contact the researchers.
- Prof Rowena Barrett, Lead Chief Investigator
- Dr Susanne Bahn, Chief Investigator
- Mr Krishna Prasad, Chief investigator
- Dr Pattanee Susomrith, Chief investigator
Faculty of Business and Law, Strategic Research Fund.
October 2012 - October 2013.
This project is a sub-project of The requirements of innovative practices in the WA resources sector.