PwC reports a tech skills shortage in the Mining industry

According to PwC's report, two-thirds of mining CEOs believing that a tech skills shortage will negatively impact the industry over the next ten years

Almost two-thirds of mining CEOs believe that skill shortages will have a large or very large impact on profitability over the next ten years. This is according to a report by PwC - ‘Mine 2023: The era of reinvention’, which suggests that due to a shortage in technology skills, the industry will need to see some type of reinvention.

The report also highlights that mining companies will need to “ramp up” production in order to meet the rising demand for the critical minerals that are needed for the energy transition. It suggests that, in addition to tech workers, mining simply needs a greater human workforce overall.

41% of CEOs believe companies will not be economically viable in ten years

PwC suggests that miners can no longer depend on previous portfolios and practices to create value in today’s industry, which is seeing vast changes and competition in its landscape. In its survey of mining CEOs, 41% of participants don’t think their companies will be economically viable in ten years if they continue on their current path. 

The era of critical minerals must therefore be an era of reinvention, according to PwC.

The company suggests that miners will have to increase production to meet rising demand for critical minerals, as well as other commodities that are required for the energy transition. Alongside this, however, more than one-third of mining CEOs see their company as highly or extremely exposed to climate-related risks. With this in mind, companies are aware that they must work to reduce their carbon emissions. 

According to the report, 57% of mining companies also see recruiting as the biggest barrier to adopting new technology. Talent in technology is essential to the mining world’s increasingly automated, digitised, AI-enabled operations. 

Mining companies simply need a greater human workforce overall, according to PwC, meaning that companies will need to create environments that are more open and inclusive towards potential employees who would not previously consider a mining career.

In a survey by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council of Canada, 70% of 15 to 30 year olds said they would not consider a career in mining, which is the highest proportion of all other industries surveyed.

PwC: Mining companies need to attract more workers

According to another study by the World Economic Forum, 73% of mining companies see local skills gaps as the biggest barrier to adopting new technology. This would not replace the need for humans in mining, but would lead to the industry becoming more transparent, with improved efficiencies, safety and carbon footprints. 

Mining companies especially need talent who can work with the advanced technologies that are integral to modern mine operations. In addition, PwC highlights that the mining workforce also continues to exhibit wide gender gaps, with women holding just 14% of jobs in the industry.

Vuyiswa Khutlang, Africa energy, utilities and resources partner at PwC, said in a presentation on these findings that mining companies need to attract more workers, particularly those with technological skills, to achieve their strategic objectives.

She also noted that the top mining companies surveyed needed to rethink workforce strategies to appeal to a wider group of potential employees, saying: “To meet the demand for these skill sets, leaders must look beyond the traditional mining talent pool and retrain existing workers.”


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