Many mine workers are at least age 46, and nearly 50% of skilled engineers are reaching retirement age in the next decade. (Stock Image)
The mining and metals workforce aging and the looming retirement of experienced employees combined with low recruitment represent an urgent challenge for the industry, according to Deloitte.
In a recent report tracking the trends for mining and metals in 2023, the firm highlights the danger of critical knowledge and skills being lost while the demand for metals and minerals surges for the energy transition.
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Currently, many mine workers are at least age 46, and nearly 50% of skilled engineers are reaching retirement age in the next decade.
Overall mining employment has fallen 20.4% over the past decade in the United States. In Canada, 80,000 to 120,000 workers will need to be hired by 2030.
The report also highlights that many jobs are likely to be reshaped by technology over the course of the next decade.
“In particular, the use of remote operations centers or ‘nerve centers’ is creating new roles, such as nerve center orchestrators and data scientists, integrated master schedulers, and team performance scientists,” says Deloitte.
Deloitte hypothesizes that jobs could in the future shift to a skills-based model to meet changing demands and business priorities.
“By decoupling some work from the job—either by dividing it into projects or tasks or broadening it to focus on problems to be addressed, outcomes to be achieved, or values to be created—people can be freed from being defined by their jobs,” the report reads.
“There are examples from other industries that mining and metals organizations could look to for inspiration,” Deloitte points out.
“For instance, at Unilever, an internal talent marketplace enables skills to move fluidly to different projects and tasks across the organization, either as a permanent employee or as a ‘U-Worker’— that is, a worker who has a guaranteed minimum retainer along with a core set of benefits, and who contracts with Unilever for a series of short-term projects.”