The world’s leading mining companies have a big problem – with the industry being transformed by a mad rush to acquire raw materials supporting the worldwide energy transition, and mining companies’ sweeping moves to drastically reduce their own carbon footprints, the future of labor is becoming more of a hybrid of specialized technical skillsets and traditional experience.
Just as the average miner no longer counts a pick and shovel among his toolkit, the miner of today won’t long be driving trucks or loaders (Within a year, from 2021- 2022, the number of autonomous haul trucks in operation across the world increased from 769 to 1,068). Today’s desirable skills will be in robotics, automation, and data analytics. When the 2020 World Economic Forum survey asked mining executives what was in highest demand, they primarily named tech skills.
Companies especially need young talent familiar with the new advancements that are integral to modern mining operations. But the ideal cross-section of prospects has traditionally been uninterested in or even discouraged from mining as a career.
According to a report from PwC (Mine 2023: The era of reinvention), 41% of mining CEOs polled were concerned that the next decade may see a tech skills shortage threatening economic viability amidst the biggest changes the industry has seen in decades.
Rather than being a deterrent, adopting new technologies may be the solution to diversified recruitment and closing gender gaps (According to the International Labour Organization, only about 14% of mining jobs are currently being held by women).
Quite the opposite to losing employment to automation, mining companies will likely need a greater human workforce overall, meaning that companies need to facilitate environments that are more open and inclusive toward potential employees who do not initially find the industry attractive.