Komatsu sets recruitment test for transport industry

Heavy machinery giant nominates commercial vehicles sector as target

Komatsu sets recruitment test for transport industry
Komatsu is mining skills


The freight transport industry will need to focus heavily on technical staff recruitment and retention for a second time this decade as the mining and resources industry seeks to exploit the skills within it.

Mining machinery giant Komatsu seeks to fill 300 "technician" vacancies and nominates "light and heavy commercial vehicle markets" amongst some others as targets for its "biggest ever recruiting drive".

One twist is that construction and utilities are also driving Komatsu’s demand.

Another is that its sort of heavy machinery has seen IT developments that mirror those of commercial vehicles, so the same diagnostic skills are now in dispute.

The renewed threat comes as transport is battling a growing shortfall in skilled drivers, especially for heavy vehicles.

"The days of … machinery technicians being reliant on a spanner and mechanical tools are passing us by for a more innovative technology future," Komatsu executive GM people and strategy Colin Shaw says.

"Mobile technology is the new tool of choice for trouble shooting diagnosis and improving the productivity of our intelligent machines."

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Part of the recruitment drive is based on providing applicants with upskilling opportunities which can turn jobs into life-long careers, Shaw notes, adding: "Skills gained in the Komatsu system are valued in the open market and are transferable to other occupations, although it is our intention not to lose people we've trained."

It will be of little solace that the company is also focusing on the military, marine, aeronautic and passenger vehicle sectors.

A new round of mining and resources exploitation of skills in other industries presages a resurgence in wage inflation and skills shortages.

Earlier in the decade, transport fought back with life-work balance strategies, stability and improved conditions, which, in many cases, tapped into disenchantment with fly in-fly out (FIFO) work.

It seems, however, that lessons have been learnt.

"The highly structured campaign, thought to be the most targeted ever in the industry, is intended to identify and provide opportunity for highly capable technicians who want to be part of the machinery sector and take advantage of global opportunities in the future," Komatsu says.

"It is being conducted in regional areas to overcome industry negatives of family dislocation and concerns about job longevity which are traditionally associated with FIFO operations.

"Suitably qualified recruits are being offered careers close to their homes in a purposeful drive to achieve a satisfying work-life balance."


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