An aging workforce, globalization and disruptive technology are all affecting the future supply of talent in the mining industry, according to an EY report.

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Without a strong focus on talent management, companies are faced with two significant risks:

  • Loss of wise, senior and experienced people from the sector
  • Significant talent shortage in the next upturn

“In the past 10 years, we’ve seen more semi-skilled people in skilled roles,” explains Bruce Sprague, EY’s Canadian Mining & Metals leader. “It’s not a sustainable way to resolve the labour productivity challenge. You can’t underestimate experience in this sector. It’s critical to have the right people in place who can lead projects based on firsthand experience.”

While labour productivity programs are important, they must focus on the acquisition, maintenance and optimization of human capital.

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“Companies must optimize their inventory of skills for their most valuable projects, and implement robust people programs,” adds Sprague. “Retaining the right people is becoming a key competitive advantage in this sector.”

EY’s report notes that senior, experienced mining professionals are best positioned to lead the sector through this period of turbulence because they have the right skills, deep knowledge of the mine and the sector and have “seen it all before.”

“The demand for this senior, experienced mining professional is growing,” says Sprague. “But the reality is that the supply is decreasing. Those companies that are innovative and flexible in how they effectively attract, retain and grow talent will be the ones to realize productivity gains now – and position themselves to win in the next upturn.”

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