Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

Workforce uncertainty is a hot topic in mining and resources. Driven by a combination of factors, including the COVID pandemic, global energy uncertainty and the changing nature of work, miners are feeling the pinch.

Striking at a time when the industry is trying to improve almost all business aspects, the unprecedented talent shortage has become a top priority for many operators. Simply put, attracting and retaining skilled people and A-players takes work. 

Work is also evolving with the rise of automation, algorithms, and a need for digitally savvy people. More than 100 million workers globally will need to find a different occupa­tion by 2030.

Following COVID, 40 per cent of employees surveyed were likely to leave their jobs in the next six months, prompted by multiple factors, including a change in life priorities.

While a recent McKinsey report noted 72 per cent of execu­tives have adopted permanent remote-working models. So how can miners get around these current issues?

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

Employees in the Spotlight

It’s easy to think of mining’s value as only coming from gold, iron ore, coal, rare earth etc., but that idea is slowly shifting.

People and talent are now being elevated from simple enablers to being considered proper value drivers.

Critically for miners, who make relatively low investments in skilled people, there are quick gains to be had.

It is faster and easier to recruit a metallurgist, practical mine planner, or talented commodity than to upgrade or alter a processing plant or infrastructure, for example. 

With that in mind, 71 per cent of mining leaders say they need more talent to deliver on production targets and strategic objectives. 

And It’s now much harder to recruit in specialised fields like mine planning, process engineering, and digital (data science and auto­mation).

HR is experiencing a tricky trend that’s expected to continue. 

Perhaps more importantly, young people aspire to be something other than miners in Australia.

There has been around a 63 per cent drop in mining engineering enrollment in Australia alone since 2014.

This is a worrying sign, but what can be done?

Making Talent Priority #1

In their recent study, McKinsey outlined what it believes it’ll take to reverse the trend.

Miners must act now to avoid structural talent issues further affecting their performance. 

Here are the study’s five key recommendations:

  1. Hiring great people is no longer a “HR only” problem and should be treated as a strategic pillar, alongside safety, cost and production targets. 
  2. Double down on what matters to employees.
  3. Understand which skills matter and invest in them.
  4. Make bold moves on the social agenda.

According to the study, If miners can implement the strategy above, they will go a long way to creating best-in-class work environments where people feel “valued, invested in, and fulfilled.” 

This will help to make the required shift in culture a reality.

And allow people in mining to bring their best selves to work daily while delivering on the expectations of shareholders, policymakers, and broader society. 


The mining industry, in Australia and worldwide, is facing a significant hurdle from talent shortages.

Multiple factors have brought on the crisis, but miners must catch up in their approach to hiring and retaining top performers.

A recent study by McKinsey has called for immediate action before miners fall too far behind the competition and matters worsen.

In essence, this strategy should go to the heart of what people want from their careers, how they want to be treated and what they want to learn.

With all of this combined, mining can turn people into one of its most valuable commodities, in line with what it pulls from the ground. 


Dust suppression is an enduring issue in the world of mining and energy.

Learn more about GRT’s industry-leading and IoT-connected SMART Dosing Units, and discover how we’re driving better dust suppression solutions for all.

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Troy Adams
Troy Adams

Troy Adams is the Managing Director of Global Road Technology (GRT) Specialising in Engineered Solutions for Dust Suppression, Erosion Control, Soil Stabilisation and Water Management. A pioneering, socially conscious Australian entrepreneur, Troy Adams is passionate about health and safety and providing innovative solutions that are cost-effective to the mining industry, governments and infrastructure sectors. Troy is also a tech investor, director of companies like Crossware, Boost, Hakkasan, Novikov and more.

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