April 6, 2020

Unlocking The Next Generation Of Mining Talent

With mining investing heavily in new science and technologies, it'll be more important than ever to attract and hire a cross-functional workforce.

By Raffi Jabrayan, Director -- Markets & Industries

The mining industry is at a critical inflection point. Companies are increasingly incorporating technologies that make their operations safer, more productive, and more sustainable. With these new tools and systems comes the need for a cross-functional workforce. After all, investing in new tech is not simply about acquiring new hardware and software -- you need the right talent with the right skills to transform the core of your operations and successfully evolve your business model.

Of course, recruiting new talent in this day and age presents a number of unique challenges. For one, it’s no secret that mining has a bit of a public perception problem, and that can be especially tough to navigate with a younger generation. To this end, here are a few key messaging points that can help mining companies attract the next generation of talent.


setting up autonomous robot
Surveyors will need cross-functional skills to harness increased robotics and AI in mining

While those of us already in the industry are deeply familiar with how technology is transforming our work, the majority of outsiders still think of mining operations in the old-school sense -- picks, axes, and shovels. Make it clear that mining today is about harnessing some of the most advanced technologies and scientific research in the world, from robotics process automation to artificial intelligence and machine learning to augmented reality.

Take your company on university roadshows and show students what mining is really about. Highlight the need for engineers and scientists to contribute their skills so that, together, you can expand scientific knowledge and innovative applications of new technologies. Demonstrate some of the biggest problems facing mining today and which skills and techniques we need to solve them. And by the way, this type of education doesn’t just start in college -- you can also start younger. Think career day or a special field trip for grade schools.

Mining is about SAFETY

surveyors flying autonomous aerial robot
Autonomous aerial robots will keep surveyors away from dangerous stope entryways

Along with the imagery of picks and shovels comes the persistent notion that mining is prohibitively dangerous, and that it entails being trapped deep underground in the dark and dust. This is where you need to communicate openly and boldly about your company’s commitment to a culture of safety, and talk about the specific processes and protocols that enforce this and make everyone accountable. Of course, be sure to highlight the advanced technologies that not only safeguard human lives but keep humans from ever needing to enter dangerous environments in the first place, such as autonomous robotics and equipment.

You can take this commitment a step further by demonstrating all the ways your company supports overall health and well-being, too. Make sure your employee wellness program is up to snuff with activities and perks that support a happy, healthy work environment.


aerial robot maps stope
Aerial robot exploring a stope

For many young people, it’s not just about making a paycheck, but discovering real meaning in their work and feeling connected to a larger purpose -- often with a global impact. Don’t be afraid to brag about any and all of the positive initiatives that your company is spearheading that can help you stand out, and contextualize these with a bigger-picture perspective.

From environmental awareness to fostering a more diverse team, make it known what types of values matter to you as a company -- chances are, many of your target hires will care. If you openly define and are transparent about your values, you are more likely to attract more impassioned employees who will develop a deeper sense of loyalty and team-mindedness. This type of stickiness goes a long way in helping you not just attract, but retain valuable talent.

Don’t forget that there is intense competition vying for the same talent -- not just from mining companies, but other asset-intensive industries also looking to capture employees with technological and scientific backgrounds. Set yourself apart by tapping into what today’s workers really care about!

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