McDonalds imports workers into WA to fill gaps caused by mining

As the skills shortage becomes increasingly dire and jobs in the mining and resource sectors offering huge financial incentives for employees, a Queensland McDonald’s has been forced to recruit staff from capital cities. Burger flippers are in short supply in Mount Isa and the fast-food giant has resorted to importing workers from Brisbane, New limited reports. Teenagers usually make up a large portion of staff at McDonald’s outlets, but in the Mount Isa region, the high-paying jobs in the mines are far more attractive.

The wages, combined with flexible rosters and graduate and career advancement programs have lured many away from the traditional retail and fast-food roles and into the mines. Small businesses are also struggling to compete with the offers mining companies are making. Like the mining industry, which incorporates travel into many positions, especially with fly-in fly-out (FIFO) roles, the Mount Isa McDonald’s has become the first to offer covering travel costs for those willing to take a full time job.

The full-time role at the fast-food chain would pay $718 per week, and employees who stay four months are entitled to a free return bus trip to Brisbane, while those who stay six months can have a return plane ride covered. Manager Joy Mendoza told News Limited the company struggled to fill vacancies locally and decided to advertise the position in Brisbane as an opportunity to see the Outback.

“We’re really understaffed and we wanted to attract people,” she said. “I was quite overwhelmed with the response. “They’re actually interested in coming up to Mount Isa and some are saying they just want to give it a try.”

Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce President Brett Peterson said young people can double the amount they would be paid in retail or food employment with a role in the mines. The high wages in mining towns contribute to the high cost of living, with Moranbah in the Bowen Basin named the most expensive place to live in the state. At a mining camp near Moranbah, a kitchen hand can earn up to $85 000 and maintenance and office employees can make double what they would in a similar role outside the mining industry.

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