With the ongoing global skills shortage within Mining, is it time to get the job seeker’s perspective?

A global survey of over 5,300 job seekers sheds some light on the issues in the war for talent which the Mining sector continues to face. Demographics definitely play a significant part in the skills shortage but could the results have an impact on how this industry looks at attracting talent? This is the question being asked by Worldwide Recruitment Solutions (WRS), a specialist in recruiting for this sector, who have conducted this survey to identify trends within the marketplace.

Lucy Donald, a Director of WRS who has extensive experience of sourcing skills within the Mining industry, says, “Having recruited within this challenging sector for over six years now, WRS were keen to engage with job seekers and understand the industry from their perspective as recruitment in the Mining community is currently such a candidate driven market. The outcome is this survey, which we run as an annual activity to provide an in-depth insight into the marketplace for clients and job seekers alike.”

While its common knowledge that the mining sector is a male dominated one, it’s a concern that nearly 94% of respondents were male, showing that more investment is still needed in attracting skilled females into the industry. Over 32% of respondents are in the 35-44 age category with 30% within the 45-54 one and over 20% in the 25-34 category, so it is evident there is a lot of experienced talent in the market.

Experience and Specialisms in Mining

The respondents are predominantly specialists within mining management/mining engineering (32%), operations (30%) and Project Services: Controls, Planners, Estimators, EPCM (22%). With almost 24% of these having over 25+ years’ experience and nearly 19% in both the 6-10 and 11-15 years’ experience categories with over 16% in the 15-20 years’ category, there is definitely considerable skills and experience in the market for a new job. Obviously demographics and regional work preferences do play a part in where this talent are willing to work, so the survey also looked at geographic split and key motivators in why a new role is appealing.

Where and how does the Mining talent want to work?

Nearly 43% prefer to work for an Operator followed by 18% who prefer to work for a Consultant, both Contractor and EPM were the preference for nearly 11% respectively while only 8% showed a preference for an OEM. Nearly 41% of respondents prefer open pit, however nearly 48% had no preference between open pit or underground.

When asked their preference on rotational or residential working 35% prefer rotational and over 34% prefer Residential with almost 31% having no preference, although 48% work residential currently. When it came to permanent versus contract roles, 54% prefer permanent work with just 15% favouring contract roles while over 30% had no preference. Of those who do work regularly on contract nearly 38% have no preference over length of contract with nearly 22% preferring 24-36 months, nearly 22% preferring 12-24 months and over 15% preferring 36 months +.

When asked where individuals prefer to work geographically, giving them a choice of the key worldwide Mining regions to rate, over 53% prefer to work within Africa, almost 40% prefer South America, over 32% Canada and 31% Australia/New Zealand. North America was rated as a preference by 29% and Europe 28%.

The deciding factors in choosing a new opportunity in Mining

Various factors are key for individuals when applying for a new role within Mining, with over 97% of respondents not surprisingly rating base salary/day rate as important/very important, while over 83% all rated career progression, health plan and leave/rotation as deciding factors when considering new opportunities.

Lucy summarises, “This survey sheds some light on where the talent is within the worldwide mining community and, more importantly wants to be, along with some key indicators to consider when attracting talent in the continuing skills scarce market this industry finds itself in.”

Want to see the world? Then a career in mining may be for you

Some people are just born to travel. They love seeing new lands beyond their shores, thrive on the excitement of experiencing new cultures, and they are just inherently restless. These types of people are just not able to stay in one place for long and get bored and frustrated when stuck in an office eight hours a day. It is ultimately a lifestyle choice. If this sounds like you, then mining may be a career you may want to consider.

The reality is that there are few industries out there that offer the opportunities of travel, that the mining industry does. There are numerous Geologists, Mining Engineers amongst others who work in the mining industry that have over the course of their careers, managed to see the world. Not only do they get to travel and see new exciting places, many of those in the mining industry get to see firsthand some of the most remote regions of the world, regions that the majority of people will never get to experience in their lives. Regardless as to whether it’s the Australian Gold Fields that you want to experience, or whether you would rather be based thousands of meters above sea level in the mountains of Chile, or whether it’s Africa that you yearn to see, mining can offer you the experience of living and working in all of these regions.

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Using the skills shortage in the resources industry to your advantage

Even in the face of tough economic times worldwide, where there have been significant job losses in many regions, one of the biggest concerns that companies in the mining industry still face, is managing to find and hang onto their top talent. It appears that even with the uncertainty and problems that the mining industry is facing as a whole, that Mining Engineers, Geologists, Mine Surveyors, Electricians and Fitters amongst other skills, are still, in many regions, hard to come by. It appears that cash strapped companies are still being forced into “bidding wars” with each other when it comes to attracting these sought after skills.

In recent years, both the mining and the oil and gas industry have become increasingly popular, with many job seekers trying desperately to break into these industries. There has been, and continues to be, an unprecedented interest in these industries, and it appears that job seekers have not been put off by the recent downturn in mining.

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I want to be a Mechanical Engineer. What will my salary be?

What do you need to study in order to become a Mechanical Engineer?

Most companies hiring Mechanical Engineers will expect the applicant to hold at least a Bachelor in Science in Mechanical Engineering and an EIT (Engineer in Training) certificate or preferably a PE (Professional Engineer) certificate.

A Mechanical engineering degree programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. The programs typically last 4 years, but many students take between 4 and 5 years to earn a degree. A mechanical engineering degree program may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry. Theory is often another main focus, in order to prepare students for graduate-level work.

There are colleges and universities that offer 5 year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

What do Mechanical Engineers do?

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I want to be a Mining Engineer. What will my salary be?

What do you need to study in order to become a Mining Engineer?

Students interested in entering mining engineering programs should take courses in mathematics and science in high school. A Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mining Engineering is required. Any Engineer who works in the public sector will need to be awarded a state certification as well. Mining Engineers have the option of working in either the private and public sectors. Should you be interested in a Research or Academic position, it will require a doctorate or master’s degree. Courses you will need to study during the course of your degree will cover areas such as geology, mining operations, mine design, metallurgy and environmental issues.

Master’s degree programs in mining and geological engineering are typically 2 year programs, and some of these programs require a written thesis for graduation.

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I want to be an Environmental Engineer. What will my salary be?

What do you need to study in order to become an Environmental Engineer?

Students interested in a career in environmental engineering should consider taking subjects such as chemistry, biology, physics and maths in order to have the best chance of being accepted.

Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. This would typically take 4 years and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. There are also universities that offer programs where students can gain practical experience at the same time as studying. Should you want to complete your masters this will take an extra year or two, depending on where in the world you are based.

What do Environmental Engineers do?

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How the mining downturn has affected Geologist salaries in Canada

The mining crisis worldwide has impacted many regions including Canada. Having looked more closely at the situation for Geologists in Australia, where we found that even though there have been job losses, salaries for Geologists have remained pretty constant for those still employed in mining. In some cases, Geologists are earning more now than they were a year or so back and it was encouraging to see that Geologists in Australia are not earning less now than in 2012.

I thought it would be good to do a comparison as to how Geologists in Canada are faring salary wise. We know that a number of small mineral exploration companies have been forced to close down, and that there have been job losses in mining in Canada. 2013 was not a good year for the mining industry worldwide, Canada being no exception. As metal prices fell, companies were forced to slash their costs and there were unfortunately some in mining in Canada that lost their jobs. So far 2014 has not been a particularly good year for those in mining either.

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