Deloitte have released a list of the top ten industry trends we can expect in 2015. With a number of challenges faced by the sector this year, it’s important to stay a few steps ahead and pay attention to the indicators. As we all know, the mining industry is cyclical in nature, and despite the ongoing commodities downturn after the mining boom, the upswing is on its way; it’s simply a matter of when we will start to see this resurgence.
Australian Mining takes a look at each of these ten tips from Deloitte to see what’s in store through this ebbing year in the mining cycle.
Seeking New Skillsets
Australia has just been through a massive trade skills shortage during the last boom, but now the big miners can’t get rid of staff fast enough in the interest of cost cutting.
Rio Tinto is keeping schtum on their staff-based cost cutting despite a memo from iron boss Andrew Harding that made the rounds a few weeks ago, however speculation about 10 per cent of office staff being about to lose their jobs should show its merits in the coming weeks.
However, it’s most important to keep talent on board, and it appears that Rio are looking to trim those employees who have been deemed less productive than others, with the introduction of quarterly performance reviews of site superintendents, who are normally a safe lot.
However, as the sector continues through its downswing it will become clear that the majors, with their plans to continue development of automation based technologies, will need more tech based staff than ever before, especially in the IT field.
Competition for automation professionals will become fierce, and perhaps not this year, but in a few years to come we will witness the same kind of poaching of talent, even from university undergraduates, that we saw in the geological field early on in the boom.
The hardest part will be that as mining’s forward looking technology grows, so does every other industry around the world, and mining companies may be hard pressed to lure new talent away from their dreams of working in other, more glamorous fields.
Part of the legacy of the downturn is that as more people are laid off, we’ll see more people competing for lower level roles, and little hope for the hopefuls who have heard about the big money and want to break into the mining game.
Any roles will be snapped up by good staff already sent home from other jobs, and with good HR management the industry will be left with the cream.
Throughout the boom an easy economy allowed people who weren’t necessarily the best in their field to rise through the ranks, but any who haven’t learned their craft by now will be on the chopping block, and no-one will be brought to fill their roles, they will simply be made redundant.
However, big miners would do well to consider future investments in training to ensure that the next boom will not be understaffed, however it may be a few years away before anything really needs to be done about that.
The key will be to begin investing in local skills pools, especially for Automation technicians capable of repairing equipment on site, as the mining sector begins an upswing.
The most important thing in HR will be identifying looming talent gaps, and being ready to source those workers to prevent shortages.
Deloitte mentions that companies may find themselves hiring from a global talent pool, however this already takes place in Australia thanks to the 457 Visa system.
The expense of international travel would be better spent early in the piece on educational investments to ensure that local Australian industries are fed from local talent pools, to ensure the quality of talent enabled by our education system, and to ensure ample supply is always available.