Top 4 Ways to Attract and Retain Good Plant Operators
4 minutes | Posted 25 May, 2023

By Lilly Mckenzie, Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Scout Talent

With Australia’s unemployment rate stable at a low 3.5%, attracting and retaining good employees has never been more important. In today’s job market, we have what is commonly referred to as a ‘candidate-short market’. This means candidates are able to pick and choose the job they take, and employers need to work to engage candidates, rather than the other way around.

This is incredibly important when it comes to plant operators, as the Manufacturing, Transport, and Logistics category had the largest increase in job ads in Australia in February with a 5.3% increase, and Trades and Services followed with a 2.5% increase (Seek Employment Report).

So how do you attract and retain plant operators?

  • Highlight Your Employee Value Proposition
  • Know Your Attraction Strategy
  • Set Yourself Apart
  • Care About Your Candidates

Follow these four steps outlined below to attract and retain your plant operators!

If you’d like to know more, or like some help implementing these strategies, contact Scout Talent today.

1. Highlight Your Employee Value Proposition

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can help you both attract, and retain top talent, but what is it, and how do you make it effective?

Your EVP encompasses the benefits that your organisation offers to its team members. Most organisations have clear customer value propositions, however they don’t take the time to analyse what value they can offer to their people.

An EVP can include things like training and development programs, management tracks, and other tangible plans. It can also include values and principles, like having an open-door policy, or transparency across your business.
Having a clear EVP will encourage new employees to join your organisation, as post-covid, the values of an organisation are becoming much more important to candidates.

It’s important to make sure your organisation is living its EVP as well, and that it is not just words. Keeping this front of mind will help retain your staff, as they will feel valued, and like your organisation keeps its promises to its employees.


  • Have a clear and accurate EVP
  • Ask your employees how they feel about your EVP
  • Revisit your EVP regularly to ensure it reflects your organisation


  • Forget about your EVP
  • Design an EVP that is not realistic
  • Create your EVP as a tick-box exercise

Scout Talent’s Employer Branding specialists help organisations to attract and retain the best talent with the use of compelling EVPs. If you’d like assistance creating your EVPs, find out more here.

2. Know Your Advertising Strategy

With the amount of job ads in the industry continuing to climb, set yourself apart by knowing your advertising strategy. Focus on what sets you apart from your competitors, and position yourself as the employer of choice. Describe to your prospective candidates what your organisation and your team culture are like, and how their qualities will add value to your business.

As well as, clearly stating the skills and experience you’re looking for, your organisation’s purpose, and what’s on offer; be sure to use common words and job titles, to ensure your ad performs well with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

In addition to what is in your ad, your advertising strategy should include where and when you advertise. Using industry-specific job boards and groups, as well as optimising the time you publish your ads is important to their success.

Active advertising is something most businesses do, but it only targets approximately 20% of the market. To target the other 80%, try passive strategies like having a referral program, utilising social media, tapping into your candidate pools, and conducting targeted headhunting.


  • Be specific about the role and what you’re looking for
  • Advertise salary and benefits
  • Use common job titles and keywords throughout your ad


  • Forget about your soft benefits
  • Post during high-traffic times
  • Overlook your passive candidates

Learn more about Scout Talent’s Active and Passive advertising strategies here.

3. Set Yourself Apart

A key part of hiring and keeping your plant operators is making sure you set yourself apart from your competitors. This is done by showcasing your benefits, which include salary, in a compelling way.

This is incredibly important when hiring in the manufacturing and trades industries, as salary and compensation is the number one driver for workers in these industries, labelled as ‘most important’ by 33% of workers last month. While work-life balance is a distant second place at 20.7%, and career development rounding out the top 3 drivers for candidates at 9.4% (Seek – Laws of Attraction).


  • Get specific about any bonus, commission, or incentive schemes
  • Your research! Know how your remuneration compares to the market
  • Talk about what makes your organisation stand apart from others


  • Forget your perks, bonuses, and benefits
  • Hide salary in your advertising, up to 70% of applicants will not apply
  • Use industry jargon and buzzwords in your ads

To learn more about what attractive salary and benefits look like for your roles, contact our Recruitment Marketing Specialists from Scout Talent.

4. Care About Your Candidates

Once you’ve advertised your roles and your applicants come rolling in, managing them effectively is the next step to attracting the right staff for your organisation. Candidates in today’s market are often involved in multiple interview processes at once, and a decision can come down to speed and care from their prospective employer.

The way you treat prospective employees can affect your employer brand positively or negatively. If a candidate has a negative experience, they’re not contacted for a while; is not kept up to date with how they are progressing; or doesn’t get a response after applying, it is highly likely that they won’t apply for a role with you in the future, and they will discourage those they know from working with you.

Likewise, if someone has a good candidate experience, even if they don’t get the role, they will apply for other jobs in the future, and encourage people they know to apply for suitable roles with your organisation too.


  • Reach out to candidates ASAP
  • Keep your candidates informed throughout the process
  • Give candidates specific feedback – positive and negative


  • Have a long hiring process with more than 3 face-to-face interviews
  • Not update unsuccessful candidates
  • Ignore your existing staff, they are your biggest brand ambassadors

To learn more about Managing your Applicants, or for assistance with your candidate process, contact our Talent Engagement Specialists at Scout Talent.

Key Take-Away

The job market in Australia has changed, and businesses must now compete for staff rather than the other way around. Manufacturing and Trades are some of the highest-growth industries by vacancy at the moment, making Plant Operators a challenging role to fill and retain in this climate.

To attract and retain your candidates, you need to Focus on Your Employee Value Proposition, Advertise Smart, Stay Competitive, and Manage your Applicants.

To learn more about how you can implement any of these strategies yourself, or how we can help you implement these, contact Scout Talent today.