Booming mining industry is creating retail labour crisis
Regional towns in Queensland are having to fly-in, fly-out workers as flocks of people abandon retail and bank jobs to work at the mines, according to a recent Queensland Resources Council report.
An estimated 35,000 jobs will become vacant during the next two years unless a dramatic change occurs in all fields, including apprenticeships, immigration, taxation, education and mining. The mining industry will pay more than $8 billion in State Government royalties if the $142 billion in mining projects go ahead. Opportunities are going to be lost if labour changes don’t shift dramatically soon.
Resource companies are taking available people, causing some companies to fly-in, fly-out, or FIFO, due to a lack of people in the retail sector said Steve de Kruijff, the head of Xstrata Copper. Mining companies should attempt to attract people from other industries to move to mining towns to support its industries.
“I would prefer not to but a lot of people want to FIFO,” Kruijiff said. “It’s a big bang that is happening. It’s all going to happen very quickly, and the volume of people is not there.”
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A trend shows retailers in communities with rapidly expanding mining and resource sectors hiring workers from overseas, said Gary Black, National Retailers Association executive director. These communities include Mt Isa, Mackay, Gladstone and Toowoomba. About 20 per cent of these new jobs will go to these overseas workers on 457 work visas, according to the QRC.
Australia should consider following the example of some South American nations that shortened apprenticeships by two years without any loss of standards, Kruijiff said. The Government would double to 1,000 the number of TAFE positions for the introduction to mining courses, said Premier Anna Bligh.
As of now, some projects are at risk of stalling or being scrapped because the labour market settings will fail to meet demand, said QRC chief executive Michael Roche.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.