Industry faces shortages in next decade
The Sudbury Hiring Requirements Mining Forecasts 2013 study was conducted late last year.
It uses a labour market forecasting system to predict changes in employment in the mining and minerals exploration industry, which currently employs 25,200 workers in the Sudbury area.
Factors which could influence the mining industry include commodity prices, productivity factors, demographic and regional data, along with key informant stakeholder interviews and surveys.
The forecast study examines 66 mining-related occupations and includes projections for two-, five-, and ten-year time horizons and three economic scenarios — contractionary, baseline and expansionary.
The labour crunch is being caused by an aging workforce; pending retirements of highly knowledgeable and experienced workers; low participation rates in the mining industry by Aboriginal people, women and new immigrants; challenges in attracting local youth to mining professions; and poor image of the industry.
The need for more workers could “pose a significant problem” for the mining industry, said Reggie Caverson, executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin.
“This research confirms what we already suspected; that significant shortages in highly skilled professions and experienced skilled trades will impact the industry if we don’t do something now,” said Jonathan Laderoute, Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin's co-chair of business.
“It provides us with a clearer picture of the number of people that are needed in specific mining occupations to support the industry over the coming years.”
Among the recommendations made in the report are:
-Increasing mining’s share of available talent; improving the image of the mining industry.
-Integrating mining education into school curriculum to promote mining-related occupations as a viable career choice.
-Strengthening industry and post-secondary education partnerships.
-Optimizing the work environment to balance new technology with workforce needs.
-Encouraging underutilized pools of talent to enter the industry.
-Developing more flexible apprenticeship ratios.
-Using older workers to mentor younger workers.
-Retaining employees during economic downturns.
“Our government understands that if Ontario is to prosper, all communities across the province must prosper,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“That includes the many communities and First Nations across the north. The insight provided by this project will help us to better understand the unique needs of northern communities and help them to prepare for a strong and prosperous future.”