How mining is discovering a richer diversity of talent

25 Jun 2019

How mining is discovering a richer diversity of talent

The mining industry is transforming fast due to a combination of new technologies and workforce diversification, writes David Craik.

New technologies such as robotics are making an impact on global mining and with it the need for enhanced digital skills.

Other changes include an increased focus on safety, community engagement and stricter environmental regulations.

The industry is also facing a global skills shortage with Canada, for example, seeking 100,000 new workers by 2025.

Being a more diverse industry will help but, according to Bloomberg, only 20% of the global mining workforce is female.

“Recruitment has its challenges from working in remote locations to the bad reputation mining has with the new generations,” says Rosario Astuvilca, Partner and Head of Odgers Berndtson’s Mining & Metals Practice in Canada.

“We haven’t done a great job of communicating the importance of the mining sector for society. Even more challenging is to recruit women for the mine sites where they still face barriers and non-inclusive cultures. This situation is changing as companies face the pressure to find talent which is very scarce.”

How are companies responding?

MiningCo had been missing its production targets and losing talent to competitors, blaming a workforce divided by geography, operations, language and literacy. Consultants Bain helped it make cultural change its top priority, leading to new safety standards, language training, community projects and even bus stops for mining staff.

On diversity, BHP (the Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum company) vowed in 2016 that half its 26,000 workforce will be female by 2025.

Representation, helped by more flexible working, has grown from 17.6%  in 2016 to around 22.4%.

Drive for diversity

Vancouver-based gold miner Goldcorp is also driving more diversity, including establishing the University of British Columbia’s Goldcorp Professorship for Women in Engineering.

Anna Tudela, VP, Diversity, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Secretary at Newmont Goldcorp, says: “Mining is striving to be more inclusive and looking for transferrable skills from other sectors. At Newmont Goldcorp, we have an entrepreneurial and innovative culture that is different from the traditional structural and procedural approach. Being more diverse will bring new perspectives and innovation.”

Newmont Goldcorp runs a scheme called Creating Choices to train, develop and mentor women both internally and from other sectors.

“It covers all areas from administration to finance and leadership,” Tudela explains. “If we don’t diversify, we won’t meet the demand. The mining industry has become more inclusive in the last 10 years. Some mines have breastfeeding rooms and there is more female-specific work gear.”

Read how culture is a vital tool in building resilience to change in other sectors such as education and energy.

This article is from the latest ‘Culture’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson global magazine, OBSERVE.

Register to download your free OBSERVE