Businesses face worker woes
A Kalgoorlie-Boulder small business owner has given up on recruiting locals because of issues involving criminal records and drug habits in the city’s workforce.
Kim Harris, owner of small business Desert Concrete, said he was now recruiting in Perth and further afield after being inundated by unemployable locals.
“No vehicle licence is a big problem in this town, which usually means they’re a p***head, ” he said.
“Drugs, they’re a huge problem here.
“They can’t pass drug tests — half of them.”
Mr Harris said roughly half of the applicants he saw applying for work were unemployable because of issues involving criminal records or drug-related problems.
“I set out very careful criteria in the ad and people just don’t even read it, ” he said.
Mr Harris said the best quality Kalgoorlie-Boulder workers were snapped up by the mines, leaving small businesses with the “dregs”.
“We can’t match the money of the mines, ” he said.
“It’s very frustrating when you get hold of someone who’s got a bit of potential — you train them up and they’re gone.
“It only leaves the s*** for us.”
Mr Harris said in his experience, the majority of workers with problems were under 30 years old.
“I don’t even employ them (younger workers) anymore, I’m fed up with them, ” he said.
“If I could find one that was conscientious and keen and wanted to learn something I’d put him on in a heartbeat, but they are just lazy pieces of s*** that just want to bludge their way through life.”
Cartelec owner Kevin Carter said an issue with an employee could come up unexpectedly.
“The problem is if you want to work for the Department of Housing, you’ve got to have a police clearance, ” he said.
“We had one go down and do a police clearance and he actually found out he had a warrant out for him in South Australia.
“And then he didn’t come back, so I don’t know what happened to him.”
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Hugh Gallagher said he was not surprised small businesses were facing issues of up to 50 per cent of local job applicants being unemployable.
“It’s not like a capital city where, if for one reason or another you fall out of one sector, you can start a new life in another, ” he said.
“If you burn your bridges or something happens, which precludes you from getting a job on-site, you’re not going to get on-site.
“Your choices get narrow pretty quickly.”
Small Business Centre Goldfields business adviser Gary Brown said the centre had not received any negative feedback regarding employing locals.
He encouraged any businesses experiencing these issues to contact the SBCG.
© The West Australian
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