Mining companies begin to step up staffing efforts
Lindsey Schultz, CEO of MRC Recruiting, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss mining companies stepping up their staffing efforts.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Copper prices are hitting new highs and there is no end in sight. So you think this might be a good time to find a job in the mining industry. But good luck. It’s difficult to recruit people. Lindsay Schultz is the CEO of MRC Recruiting. Mining companies are struggling to increase their staff to meet the demand for products like copper. Where do you see it the most? Is it, for example, copper mines or is it widespread?
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: It really is at all levels. We’ve had some recruiting issues in base metals, as well as copper, gold, and even things like lithium, which is a metal in high demand for some of the electric cars we see now.
SEANA SMITH: Lindsey, why has the industry not been able to attract young professionals? And how are you, I guess, how do you approach this problem?
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: Sure. It’s a bit loaded question, I think. The mining industry has been booming or down for as long as anyone can remember. I mean, that’s why you have old mining towns that you drive to the side of the freeway and are no longer there. But there are mines, and none of them are in suitable locations, which is one of the reasons we see some individuals not getting into the industry as much.
But with the boom and bust, the location of operations, the reputation of the industry in general, and the sheer lack of awareness of the opportunities within the mining industry, I think, has really affected our ability to attract new talents. our job is to create awareness outside and really talk about all the opportunities that mining presents around the world.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Well, what role are you playing? Are you looking for engineers or are you looking for the people who go into the mines? I’m watching Cleveland-Cliffs right now, which is trading near its 52-week high, and I’m still trying to make a connection to Cleveland because I love the city. But they’re mining taconite in Michigan’s upper peninsula. So what are you playing for, say, a Cleveland-Cliffs?
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: So for our company, for MRC, we recruit mostly professionals at graduate level and above. It starts to include people with technological backgrounds and technology certificates. So it could be a very skilled mining maintenance professional, programmer, CEO of a mining company. So that’s really where we focus.
SEANA SMITH: Lindsey, has the pandemic slowed down this industry even further, not so much in terms of industry performance, but only in terms of attracting new talent? Has it had [AUDIO OUT] on that?
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: You know, that was a pretty quick reaction, I would say I would say last March, where no one knew what was going to happen and what was going on. The students were therefore already in school and preparing to be released, but potentially without possibility. It acted like another quick cycle or uncertainty, I guess, in our industry where people didn’t know where they could go.
But in reality, it didn’t slow things down significantly. Probably just for a short time. And now we’re really looking at a significant ramp-up of things. I think the pandemic has contributed to some higher level attrition within our industry, especially people unwilling to deal with team meetings or Zoom, not being able to travel as freely as before, and the status quo is no longer business as usual. So we’ve seen potentially 3% to 5% retire during this time, exacerbating the need for new talent.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Could it become easier for you to recruit? We talked about the instability in the mining sector. It looks like mining, especially because of the demand for EV components, be it copper or lithium for batteries, will not go away. The experts are all telling us, brace yourself, this is here to stay.
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: And we’re all keeping our fingers crossed. I think we’ve all seen these cycles and the excitement when gold was up several years ago was the highest it ever was, and now it’s the highest it is again. ever was. So we hope that we can create more sustainable models, and that is part, I think, of the solution that we have to represent within the industry, which is sustainability, to create jobs on and off site.
Investment in education or infrastructure in some of the places where there are mines. And really, it’s part of the vision or mission-driven organization that really draws Gen Y and Gen Z in from there. [INAUDIBLE], who are genuinely concerned with aligning their ideas with value and goal-oriented organization that closely match theirs.
SEANA SMITH: Why not attract more women to this space? Because it is an extremely male dominated industry. There have been diversification efforts in the mining sector, but it just hasn’t worked as well as in other industries. So how do you approach this?
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: It’s a bit loaded question. I think the last statistic I saw, women make up about 15% of the mining industry across the board. So it could be junior geologists to the CEO of an organization. So certainly an under-represented group. And I think there are a lot of organizations and businesses that are tackling this. I think Canada recently legislated for us to be more active in diversity inclusion programs.
And I think it will take a little while to lead that component within the industry, because a lot of companies are headquartered in Canada. So I think it’ll be interesting to see how that affects him. But there are also many organizations, mining institutes, the Human Resources Council has always been and has always taken an active part in the education of indigenous populations, First Nations in Canada, Amerindians here in the United States. , as well as women.
And one of their ideas is to hire locals and get training. And so I think that’s a really good way to do it and keep people engaged in the workforce. Because we’ve seen individuals, especially women, and particularly in geology or field-related roles in mining, leave the workforce after about five to seven years to start a family or whatever. And I think the idea of having a job or dual income households has changed the mining industry’s ability to [INTERPOSING VOICES].
ADAM SHAPIRO: The whole world has changed. I mean, they called geology, rocks for jocks. But now, you know, rocks for women too. So I have to ask you, Lindsey, this is the coolest library I’ve ever seen over your shoulder. I thought you had this precarious tower of books, but it’s in the wall. It’s pretty cool.
LINDSEY SCHULTZ: It’s my turn of books.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Lindsey Schultz, your turn of the books. Lindsey Schultz, CEO of MRC Recruiting. We wish you the best. We hope you will come back.