Talent shortage holds miners back from delivering on production targets, objectives – report

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An unprecedented skills shortage in the mining industry is putting talent acquisition at the top of miners’ agendas, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company.

There are three cross-industry trends converging to mobilize changes within the mining workforce, the report notes.

First, the nature of work is evolving in the industry, with a focus shifting to technology roles, especially in automation and algorithms, resulting in over 100 million workers worldwide needing to change occupa­tions by 2030, McKinsey says.

Workers’ preferences also changed during the pandemic. Changing priorities led to a stunning 40% of employees reporting they were likely to leave their jobs in the next six months.

Third, ways of working are evolving: a recent McKinsey Global Institute report indicated that 72% of execu­tives surveyed say their organizations have started adopting permanent remote-working models.

Talent is increasingly being elevated to a true value driver. Miners can enhance perfor­mance at an asset, for example, by hiring a skilled metallurgist, effective mine planner, or talented commodity hedging analyst — these talent acquisitions can have significant impact on a mining company’s value relatively quickly, McKinsey points out.

But mining companies are feeling the talent squeeze.

McKinsey reports that 71% of mining leaders are finding the talent shortage is holding them back from delivering on production targets and strategic objectives.

“Indeed, 86% of mining executives tell us it is harder to recruit and retain the talent they need versus two years ago—particularly in specialized fields such as mine planning, process engineering, data science and auto­mation,” the authors note.

Compounding the issue has been a reported 63% drop in mining engineering enrollment in Australia since 2014, and a 39% drop in mining graduations in the United States since 2016.

To better understand the talent-related issues and opportunities within mining, McKinsey & Company authors interviewed a cross-section of miners to form a perspective along the entire talent life cycle.

Read the full report here.