In a discussion group during the conference, the Mining Human Resource Council (MiHR) said its baseline scenario predicts that the Canadian mining sector will need to hire around 97,000 workers within the next 10 years. If there is an expansionary boom in the commodity space, the sector would need to fill more than 135,000 positions.
The new hiring initative comes after the sector saw its longest period of high unemployment in recent history. From early 2015 to late 2016 the industry unemployment rate was well above the national average, hovering between 10% and 12%.
Ryan Montpellier, executive director at MiHR, said that the labor crunch is coming at a time when enrollment in post-secondary mining programs has dropped significantly in the last few years. MiHR data showed enrollment in undergraduate mining programs has fallen nearly 50% from 2015 to 2017.
“The lack of interest in mining is coming at a time when we are starting to see the industry ramp up,” Montpelleir said. Althoguh market volatility is a major hurdle for mining companies, Montpellier said that companies need to take a long-term approach when it comes to recruitment and look past short-term commodity prices.
And it’s not just young people that the industry needs to reach out to. The sector significantly lacks diversity compared to the general Canadian work force.