As demand for workers in Australian defence industry increases and the supply of suitably-skilled workers decreases, many have decided that now is the time to make the move to contracting.
Here are some examples of times we have supported our defence industry clients in recruiting contract workers.
Contract work examples
SUPPLYING SPECIALISTS QUICKLY
How we supported our client to hire specialist skill set capability quickly before a major external deadline.
Role: ILS Engineer
Client: Defence prime contractor (land systems)
Problem: Kinexus’ client had identified a gap in their ILS capability. Sourcing workers with ILS experience had become very challenging, and time-to-hire for permanent workers had blown out to six months. The client was working towards a major review with their customer, the Commonwealth of Australia, and needed ILS capability quickly.
Solution: Kinexus had fostered a close relationship with an ILS engineering contractor over several years and had placed them in two previous contract roles within the preceding three years, each time with excellent feedback. This career contractor (a worker who is solely interested in contract work) was out of work and actively looking for a new contract role.
Kinexus was able to secure this contractor on a 12-month contract within four weeks of the client identifying the need. After this contractor started, Kinexus successfully provided another on the same project. The work undertaken by these contractors included providing ILS engineering support for a major land systems acquisition project, product development and mentoring less experienced ILS practitioners.
The external deadline was met, and the Commonwealth remarked on the significant improvement since the contractors began supporting the client. Both contracts have been extended, and the contractors enjoying the work.
How we provided surge support to our client across in-demand skill sets on a major program.
Role: Systems Safety Engineer
Client: Defence prime contractor (aerospace)
Problem: Kinexus’ client was looking to establish a relationship with a supplier to support surge capability. To support surges in work, the supplier would need to provide contractors with niche skill sets.
Solution: The first role our client needed surge support with was for a systems safety engineer in Nowra, NSW. Kinexus engaged our extensive contractor network and was able to present the details of a skilled contractor immediately after taking the job brief. As a systems safety engineer with extensive experience in contractor roles, Kinexus had been tracking this contractor’s career and had been in contact preceding the end of their previous contract.
This Sydney-based contractor was successfully placed into a six-month contract role supporting our client, a major Defence prime. The interview and placement process was managed quickly and efficiently, and the contractor started within five weeks of being presented to the client initially. This NV1 security cleared contractor was responsible for working on a helicopter aircrew training system program.
Since this initial contractor was placed, Kinexus has also supported this client with their surge capacity in Melbourne where we placed a systems engineer. The relationship is ongoing, and Kinexus will continue to support this client with their contractor needs.
HARD TO FIND SKILLS
How we supported our above-the-line client with hard-to-find skill set
Role: ICT Systems Engineer
Client: Australian Signals Directorate
Problem: This client employs a hybrid permanent and contractor workforce model. They were seeking contract support on an essential Defence project via an RFQ process.
Solution: Due to Kinexus’ experience supporting Commonwealth departments, we are well-versed with the RFQ process. We were able to review the RFQ documents and identify that the skill set our client was seeking leant itself well to someone exiting the ADF.
Kinexus maintains close links with security cleared candidates currently in uniform who are planning to transition out. We build trust with these candidates, build trust and encourage them to enter the defence industry workforce.
Due to our reputation in this market, Kinexus was contacted by a candidate who had heard of Kinexus’ experience within Defence projects. Kinexus presented their details to the client, and this contractor was placed into a long-term systems engineering contract role. Kinexus supported them over their six months transition from RAAF and into the industry role.
Permanent workers continue to account for the majority of the defence industry workforce; Kinexus research shows that in 2022 77% of workers were employed in a permanent role.
Here are some examples of times we have supported our clients recruit permanent workers.
Permanent work examples
FILLING BUSINESS CAPABILITY GAP
How we supported a client address a business capability gap by appointing a well-connected executive.
Role: Non-Executive Director
Client: International ship repair and maintenance company
Problem: Our client identified a gap in their ability to capitalise on potential business opportunities due to a lack of advocacy and influence at senior levels in CASG and the military.
Solution: Kinexus understood the type of candidate that would be suitable in this highly specialised role. The candidate needed to be skilled in senior stakeholder management, have access to the right people at senior levels, and be able to communicate the right messages clearly and at the right time.
Kinexus undertook the assignment on a retained basis, and proceeded to contact several existing contacts, many of which were at 2-star level.
Kinexus ran the recruitment process throughout, and successfully coached the suitable candidates through several rounds of interviews. Kinexus was also able to smoothly coordinate the unusual engagement methods and pricing mechanisms that come with this type of role.
Such were the calibre of the candidates put forward, our client proceeded to appoint two non-executive directors, rather than the one they initially sought.
How we supported a client establish a capability in a brand-new location.
Role: Regional Engineering and Operations Manager
Client: Multinational Defence prime contractor
Problem: Well established overseas, our client did not have an extensive engineering capability in Australia and sought to open a new office in a major Australian capital city. Led by the Engineering and Operations Manager, this office would support the organisation’s engineering effort on a range of naval acquisition and sustainment Defence projects.
Solution: Kinexus assisted in the definition of this role; in consultation with the client, we provided our market intel on the types of candidates available on the Australian market.
The Engineering and Operations Manager role required a unique mix of skill sets. The right candidate needed to have strong engineering management skills, alongside the ability to set up and manage a business unit. Kinexus undertook this assignment on an exclusive basis.
To present a shortlist, Kinexus undertook an online advertising campaign. Due to the seniority of the role, Kinexus had well-developed networks that we were able to engage with right away. Two out of the three shortlisted candidates were proactively contacted through pre-existing networks.
Time constraints were such that we had to move quickly through the process, all the while meeting the expectations of both Australian and overseas stakeholders. We managed all candidates throughout the interview process, and successfully placed the current incumbent in this role.
Not only did the Engineering and Operations Manager fulfil the initial objectives of establishing the office, their ongoing success has been such that over 24 months the office has doubled in size. Overall, the organisation has found success in the new location, and has met the requirements placed on them by their Defence customer.
How we supported our client with a confidential recruit for a role with national scope.
Role: Finance Director
Client: Global defence industry prime specialising in communications and mission systems
Problem: Our client approached Kinexus to fill a Finance Director role created due to an internal promotion. Our client was a global Defence prime, and the role was responsible for the oversight of the financial operations of the Australian business unit. It was important that Kinexus ensured a sensitive approach to this assignment as the personnel changes were not widely known.
Solution: Kinexus provided our client with an initial overview of the candidate market for director-level roles within Australia, allowing our client to shape a competitive remuneration package prior to going to market.
Kinexus undertook a retained search for suitable candidates and within four weeks had shortlisted a diverse group of four candidates for consideration. Of the four candidates presented, three were selected for interview.
Providing the confidentiality the client needed, Kinexus ran the process to completion over a seven-week period. Kinexus ensured the process was undertaken in a timely manner, and the preferred candidate accepted the offer of employment made by our client.
When organisations are faced with the kind of workforce growth that requires more than one or two hires at once, Kinexus offers various different recruitment services to support recruitment requirements being achieved.
Implementing Recruitment Process Outsourcing (80 + roles) solution
Client: Multinational Defence Consultancy
Problem: Our client sought a partnership service to improve their time to fill, stabilise recruitment outcomes and reduce the time spent by their managers on recruiting.
Solution: Through a 3-week consultation period with key stakeholders, we defined a recruitment process methodology to complement their existing processes and a service level agreement to manage the obligations of both sides.
In this model, we provided a dedicated onsite account manager and offsite talent manager team to handle delivery. This project was established for an initial term of twelve months and has been extended past that. Recruitment volumes range between 80 and 100 over a 12-month period in engineering, ICT, project management and technical positions in Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
Workforce planning report and subsequent recruitment of 25 engineering roles
Client: Multinational Naval Prime Contractor
Problem: Our client needed to establish a new office in Australia to home their naval design and engineering capability. They did not know which location to choose.
Solution: Kinexus produced a workforce planning report by mapping and market testing key skill sets in two separate locations. We then made a recommendation on where to establish the client’s naval design and engineering capability in Australia, considering the highest supply of in-demand skill sets and cost-efficiency. Also considered was the availability of both immediately available and future candidates for the engineering skill set required to grow and maintain a workforce in the said locations.
The prime chose the location recommended by Kinexus and appointed Kinexus to recruit 25 engineering and ILS roles within a five-month period.
Kinexus provided a dedicated team which incorporated a project manager, account manager and administration support. Our service encompassed the whole recruitment lifecycle including interviewing and all pre-employment checks.
Kinexus successfully completed the project and successfully onboarded the 25 staff in the time frames specified.
Recruitment of 30 engineering, logistics and PMO staff as a result of predicted growth
Client: Major Service Provider
Problem: The client had identified that strong growth was expected in one specific location. This growth would stretch the capacity of their recruitment function.
Solution: Kinexus were engaged to support recruitment in that location and was initially tasked with onboarding 30 engineering and ILS professionals over a six-month period. A delivery manager was assigned to the project who was tasked with requirements gathering, recruiting and onboarding these 30 professionals with the support of the broader Kinexus staff. To achieve this the delivery manager spent time embedded with the client to ensure that technical and cultural requirements were met.
Kinexus provided the client with up-to-date market insights and interview training for hiring managers, so they were best positioned to assess and attract the best talent in the market.
30 hard-to-find workers were hired within the designated time frame, and the project recruitment arrangement was extended due to its success.
Recruitment of 30-40 staff across engineering, commercial, management, support, procurement, infrastructure and corporate skill sets
Client: Multinational Naval Prime Contractor
Problem: This prime contractor was well established overseas and had recently won a major acquisition project in Australia. They had few processes and systems in place in Australia and required an initial phase of recruitment of between 30 and 40 positions over a six-month period to establish their Australian office.
Solution: Kinexus’ solution involved providing an onsite talent manager, supported offsite by a project manager, account manager, marketing specialist and administration support. Kinexus established a candidate management system from scratch; this was handed over to the client for future use once the project was concluded. Whole recruitment lifecycle support was provided including the processing of pre-employment police and medical checks.
Due to the nature of this project, unforeseen challenges arose from time to time, but the robust reporting and escalation processes put in place allowed these to be dealt with effectively. This project was successfully concluded with the recruitment of over 40 candidates within the agreed timeframe.