PixelForce is an Adelaide-based Web Design and App Development digital studio, specialising in Website Design, iPhone Apps and Android Mobile Apps development. Their impressive client list includes Kayla Itsines’ SWEAT app, EzLicence, Angove wines, and OpAlert to name just a few.
Managing Director, Hinney Lo, started the company in 2011 as part of his final year university project where he had the task of developing web designs for a “mock” company. Hinney saw such great potential in his project that he decided to offer his web design and development services to real-life customers.
“I started PixelForce with my friend and business partner Ben Zhang. While my passion is in web design, Ben excels in web development so it was an ideal match. Over the past seven years we have established an extremely talented team of senior mobile app developers, including specialised iOS and Android app developers”.
PixelForce prides itself in being a multicultural company who currently employ 25 staff, 15 of whom are international graduates from India, China and Hong Kong.
Hinney explains “The nature of the digital environment is fast paced and requires a high level of skills using specific development software (Computer Vision). We found that as our business and client needs were growing, we were looking for staff to join our team who had these skills, understood the processes we adapt, and could hit the ground running. We have many Chinese clients so it is important to service their needs and communicate with them effectively.
“Last year we needed someone with a very specific skill set to assist with our international clients. We advertised directly and went through recruitment agencies (both locally and nationally) however we did not have any success. We started the process of sponsoring a skilled worker, while the process has been long it is also very worthwhile. Our company chooses not to outsource our work, so really wanted to employ someone who had the skills and experience we were looking for and wanted to live and work in Adelaide. We find that as our business is growing we are getting more contacts from people who want to work for us – which is a great position to be in!”
Hinney’s advice to other employers considering skilled migrants:
“We have been very fortunate with the recruitment of our staff. Good candidates provide so many benefits to your organisation and work-culture too. They appreciate that you have given them the opportunity and the flow on effect is that you benefit from their experience, enthusiasm and loyalty they bring to your company. Our team comprises of people with many different strengths and attributes all of which allow us to provide the best service and work for our clients”.
“Sponsoring a foreign skilled worker costs a lot of money. As a start-up business, this can be seen as a risk; but I believe this is the only way for my business to go forward and grow,” said Bernward Bucheler, Manager of Passivhaus Australia.
Bernward recently sponsored Anna Carton, an architectural draftsperson from the UK, to fill a position in his company.
’Passivhaus’ is a German term for the standard of energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.
Based on Bernward’s research, there are only 19 certified passivhaus designers in Australia. “I have been advertising this position internationally for six months, but the skilled designer with the required skills and substantial industry experience is hard to find. Some of the applicants have no experience and have not actually seen or participated in a Passivhaus build,” said Bernward.
“Anna has everything we require in that position. She has an MSC architecture degree and rich industry experience. Last year, she worked as a principal passivhaus designer and interior designer in Passivhaus Australia, on a working holiday visa. During the six months of her service, she helped to speed up the project process and contributed to the development of our company. “This is the first time we have sponsored a foreign worker using the state nomination process. The team at Immigration SA is helpful, and always there to help out when we call for advice. If this case goes well, I am planning to sponsor another skilled worker from France.”
When talking about the importance of the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, Bernward said that securing the right designer quickly was essential for this niche market.
“For a start-up company like us, this is a survival issue. If we want to become a ‘smarter country’ and ‘smarter company’, we need to source ‘skilled people’.”
Aurora Hotels and Resorts - the owners of the Ozone Hotel on Kangaroo Island - were introduced to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme by a fellow business owner as a means of recruiting trained international staff.
The scheme offered the potential for the Ozone Hotel to find appropriately trained employees who had the incentive to remain with the business for at least two years.
Kaye Duncan, Operations Manager at the Ozone, said recruiting staff up until then had been problematical.
"For a range of reasons, we would be turning over staff every few months and often every few weeks,” Ms Duncan said.
“Our first employee under the RSMS came from Sri Lanka as our Bistro Manager and now, four years later, he is our Assistant Manager.
“He and his wife, who is employed at our local chemist, have settled into island living and their seven year old daughter has become a favourite of the local school.
“We now employ nine people on the RSMS, all in key service areas such as chefs, restaurant and office management. Without these terrific employees, we would not have been able to achieve our stated goals of 4 star acknowledgement in both accommodation and dining.
“The RSMS has worked very well for us because previously we had great trouble recruiting and holding local staff.”
South Central Trucks General Manager Bill has assembled a workforce that resembles the United Nations.
His company, which sells and services trucks including Volvos and Macks, now employs 68 people in the workshop of which around 15 per cent are migrant workers from countries including India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Poland.
Bill said businesses like his are finding it harder and harder to find skilled employees in Australia. In order to maintain growth his business looks to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) to access the skilled labour it needs.
The RSMS enables Australian employers to fill skilled, full-time positions with skilled people from overseas. The scheme is only available in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
I first started using the RSMS about three years ago when I employed a mechanic from Scotland on the visa. Since then we've had a number of workers who've used the scheme.
We run a company that services commercial trucks and as those trucks represent someone’s business, clients can’t afford to wait around for days while you find the staff to work on the problem.
The RSMS has enabled us to provide better service to our customers. If a customer needs something – however big or small – we can fit them in immediately because we have the staff to do it. It’s a defining feature of our company and it’s been very successful.
Bill provides support to those joining the company on the RSMS by reimbursing the visa costs, assisting in finding accommodation and providing a relocation allowance.
We have a harmonious workplace and a very low attrition rate. By trial and error we now know what works in the business and what to look for when we recruit our mechanics. We'll continue to use the RSMS because we want long-term employees with specialised, relevant skills.