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Mining’s penchant for temp staffing will hurt industry long-term

“We have to ask ourselves whether mining and resources firms’ focus on short-term hiring will be sufficient in addressing long-term issues.”
Mining and resource employers in Canada say lack of training and professional development contributes to the skills shortage issue.

Mining and resources employers have to work extra hard this year to attract tradespeople in Canada this year as fewer people are entering the mining industry, says a new survey published Tuesday by specialist recruiter Hays Canada.

Conducted in November 2014, the survey found that while 53% of Canadian mining and resource companies will increase their business activity this year, only 34% will add to permanent staff levels.

A further 20% plan to actually cut staff, the survey revealed, “threatening productivity and increasing stress levels among existing staff.” Forty percent of the mining and resource companies surveyed intend to address productivity and stress “by increasing temporary staff levels rather than focusing on permanent positions with long-term growth potential,” said the study.

However, Hays suggests that mining and resource business target this year and beyond “could be undermined if more permanent recruitment, training and retention solutions aren’t found.”

“Looking at the results this year, we have to ask ourselves whether mining and resource firms’ focus on short-term hiring will be sufficient in addressing long-term issues,” said Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada.

“Temporary hires certainly have a value, however, focusing on long-term growth through employee development will reduce future shortages,” he observed. “Mining and resource employers should be investing in training and skills development, recruitment and succession planning to keep pace with their current and future ambitions.”

“For the first time in the history of the Hays Salary Guide, resources and mining employers say their own actions contribute to a lack of available talent therefore, challenging long-held idea around widespread ‘skill shortages’”, the study found.

A quarter of mining and resource employers told Hays their lack of training and professional development contributes to the skills shortage issue.

Meanwhile, more than 25% of those responding to the survey acknowledge that fewer people are entering the mining and resource industry. “This mirrors attitudes across all employment sectors as well as the general opinion that employers have a responsibility to boost volumes of qualified graduates by promoting themselves and their industries at the post-secondary level,” said Hays.

To recruit top employees, 59% of mining and resource employers rely on competitive salary packages. “Mining and resource employers need to work extra hard to attract tradespeople since the work often requires a candidate to relocate,” observed O’Grady.

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