Psychometric tests are now a multi-million dollar business, with companies around the world spending millions of dollars a year on them. From what I have read, it appears that around 70% of the larger companies in both Australia and the United Kingdom are now using psychometric tests in the hiring process. Canadian statistics are harder to come by, however according to a 2003 survey roughly only seventeen percent of employers did not use any form of pre-hiring assessment tool back then. Keeping in mind that this survey was from ten years back, and psychometric tests have grown considerably in popularity in recent years, the numbers of companies using psychometric tests in Canada, have in all likelihood increased. I am sure these numbers are similar in many other regions as well.
This is the second article focused on opportunities for expats within the worldwide Mining sector. Part 1 focused on the benefits, as well as the pros and cons of working as an expat. In this second part, Lucy Donald, Director of WRS, a recruiter specialising in the global Mining sector, focuses on the challenges and practicalities of making the leap to a fully-fledged expat lifestyle.
The Challenges of an Expat
The number one challenge when it comes to being an expat? It’s not getting used to a foreign cuisine, or having to deal with the inevitable dose of culture shock. Surprisingly, keeping your legal status is one of the hardest things to deal with as an expat.
A lot of this depends on what country you are living in and what the legal requirements are, but in most cases, getting, and keeping, a visa long term will almost always be an on-going consideration. Bear in mind that some countries allow you to enter visa free for periods of 2 or 3 months, some for even a year. This, however, changes from time to time, and even with this arrangement, you would still need to leave the country when the time limit runs out. Of course, some countries require you to have some form of visa in place from day one. Again, this comes in different time increments and with differing guidelines. And for most countries, even if you do have a valid visa that allows you to stay, live and work there, it’s almost guaranteed that there will still be many restrictions enforced upon you as a citizen of another country. Keep up on the visa requirements of the country you choose to live in. Most governments have websites that carry full explanations of necessary visas, permits and residency applications – always, always read the information from official government sites.
The word “expat” can conjure up vivid images of adventure and excitement – there is something exhilarating about the thought of uprooting from the familiar and moving to a new place, learning a new language and experiencing a new culture. Eating food that you have never tasted before, getting to see places you have only ever read about or seen in the media, learning new skills, meeting new people, soaking up the sights, sounds and smells you have never experienced before, as well as getting familiar with customs that are completely different from your own. The list is endless!
In the first of a two part article, Lucy Donald who is a Director of WRS, a specialist recruiter within the global Mining sector, offers some observations and ideas on what it really means to live the expat life.
Considering an Expat Opportunity in Mining? Part One
The Mining sector offers worldwide opportunities for working in other countries with the main hubs in Africa, Latin America, the US, Canada, South Africa, the Far East and Central Asia and still, albeit to a lesser extent, Australia, as well as a few options within the Middle East and North Africa.
We all know that layoffs are rife worldwide and that the mining industry has been particularly hard hit in recent times in many regions. We also know that few employees are safe, and that there is always a risk of being laid off. There are however some red flags that can signal pending layoffs in your company. It is always best to keep your ear to the ground and avoid being caught off guard.
Apart from the obvious signs that generally include budget cuts, and sharp drops in stocks there are often a fair amount of subtle signs that can indicate your company may be in trouble. If business is slow for a month or two, that may still be okay, but when it suddenly becomes a bad quarter or longer, then you need to know that the company may be getting into trouble. Also remember that even when ones colleagues are being let go, many workers are often surprised when it’s their turn to get laid off. Always remember that you are not immune. If others in your company are losing their jobs, you can too. Workers that contribute directly to revenue may be safer, especially if in a position where they are still making the company money, but even revenue producers will sometimes be let go.
Environmental Engineers are not your typical Engineers. Their worlds stretch far beyond the confines of mathematics and physics. The work of an Environmental Engineer will also entail a firm understanding of areas such as chemistry, biology and an in depth knowledge of the environmental law. An Environmental Engineer will basically use engineering skills to protect the environment and human health. For this reason the type of person attracted to this industry is often not your typical Engineer either. The demand for environmental engineering has also grown in the past few decades. Industrial projects require environmental engineers to ensure adherence to environmental regulations, which is particularly relevant to the mining industry.
I thought it would be interesting to get a comparison to see how Environmental Engineers are fairing salary wise in comparison to other Engineers in the mining industry, such as Chemical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Mining Engineers and Metallurgical Engineers.
Environmental Engineers use the principles of engineering, biology, soil science and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They also address global issues, such as climate change and sustainability. They also design solutions for areas of concern such as water treatment and pollution. There are a number of different projects that environmental engineers would work on, such as designing plans to reduce pollution, and increasing the efficiency of waste disposal. The bottom line is that Environmental Engineering is the most sensitive engineering to the preservation of Earth. It is the work of the Environmental Engineer to make the world more livable through their projects. They do this through developing solutions for environmental problems. They may be involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and numerous public health issues. Environmental Engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of the hazard, offer analysis on treatment and containment, and then they develop regulations to prevent mishaps.
I read an interesting article recently from the American Geosciences Institute which gives some information in terms of where graduate Geologists are working and what salary range they can expect depending on where they are based and in what industry.
The American Geosciences Institute is a non-profit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resilience to natural hazards, and the health of the environment.
According to the article in spring 2013, the American Geosciences Institute distributed a survey nationally where they measured the relevant experiences in school and the immediate career plans upon graduation of recent geoscience degree recipients. They have reported that they received 428 responses from 71 geosciences departments.
You have probably heard stories of people earning over $150 000 a year with little or no real qualifications somewhere on a mine in Australia, and wondered how you can get a job on the mines in Australia as well. The reality is that the mining industry in Australia has in recent years become a very sough after industry, and that the average wage in mining in Australia is generally a lot higher than the majority of other industries, particularly for those who do not have a degree to fall back on.
There are however certain criteria that all recruiters will look for in a job seeker, and if you are serious about trying to break into the mining industry in Australia, which is becoming tougher and tougher due to the downturn in mining, it is important to ensure that you fit the right criteria. The first is it is essential to have a sense of responsibility. Mining can be dangerous and it’s essential that those who work in the mines are aware of the dangers and take safety very seriously not only for themselves but for those they are going to be working with. It is also important to be both physically and emotionally fit and strong, as the conditions can be tough physically and emotionally. You also need to be willing and able to travel and spend time away from home, as the majority of mines are in remote locations.
In the current mining economic climate, there are few individuals that are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “layoff”. The down turn in mining has had a major effect on the labour market in many regions, and it appears that we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to layoffs. Companies are still unfortunately cutting staffs and budgets. Barely a day passes by without hearing of some retrenchment or downsizing.
The majority of job losses in recent years in the mining industry have nothing to do with job performance and everything to do with companies being in a position where they have their backs against the wall and have no option but to get rid of staff and reduce costs in order to survive.
Typically an employer will lay off employees in cases where the company is experiencing financial hardship. There are also other factors that will result in companies laying off their employees, one being where the employee’s job becomes redundant through a restricting process, or where the employer wants to reduce costs and increase profitability and productivity.
Choosing which subjects you are going to do at school can be confusing and daunting. The reality though is that your subject choice can make a big difference to your chances of being accepted, when it comes to applying to universities to study. This is particularly relevant when it comes to Engineering, as the golden rule is if you want to study Engineering at university you are going to need to have done Math and Science, and are going to need to be relatively good at, and have good grades in both.
So often when faced with choosing subjects at school, students opt for the easier subjects because there is less work involved and they feel they may get better grades in certain subjects. They are not thinking long term, or how their subject choice is going to affect their careers long term.