One of the dominant legacy challenges faced by the mining industry is how to raise the current median age of employees, which (depending on the resource) is 41-44 years of age. According to one survey, “67% of respondents said they’re already concerned about the ageing workforce. Additionally, only 56% of survey participants said they feel confident in their talent pipeline — meaning nearly half of them don’t.”  These statistics alone illustrate that mining as an industry needs to address its ageing workforce, otherwise, the result will be that 20% of the workforce is over 60.

The mining industry needs to be able to attract millennials to solve this talent shortage. In order to attract this younger demographic, is it important to understand who they are: “Millennial is an identity widely given to people born between 1981 and 1991 (Generation Y) and to those born between 1991 and 2001 (Generation Z). These two groups can be separated by technology; Generation Y grew up on personal computers, cell phones and video game systems, while Generation Z has grown up on tablets, smartphones and apps.” But, while millennials have been brought up with technology as the backdrop to their lives, it would seem that they have little understanding of the means of production: “Millennials have grown up in the information age, meaning that our lives are centred on the production and consumption of information, with nothing pointing us back to the raw materials that make up the basic components of our world.”

What is holding millennials back from working in the mining sector?

There are five core reasons why millennials seem to be reluctant to enter the mining industry:

  • Industry Knowledge

First and foremost, it would seem that an understanding of mining as an industry is lacking: “education systems have been limited to basic geography that barely scratches the surface when talking about rocks and minerals, especially in high schools. The extraction or processing of minerals is not covered in depth so unless one specifically explores careers related to geography, mining is something that you may never come across.

  • Sustainability Concerns

Millennials are concerned with planet care and awareness. In fact, according to research, 90% of millennials indicate that they would take a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own. And when those values are not aligned, millennials typically communicate their views to their vast online networks making them exceptionally influential in changing public trust. For mining companies that aren’t techno-progressive and remain uncommunicative and disengaged with their potential frontline employees, such increasing and expansive public scrutiny could be disastrous.

  • Working Environment

There is a misconception that mining occurs purely in tough, remote, often inhospitable working environments, which contrasts with the need of millennials to be in the centre of modernity. This sentiment is also often shaped around news headlines that, more often than not, highlight socio- and environmental impacts and mining disasters.

  • Lack of Targeted Recruitment

No one is actively recruiting millennial talent, particularly at a tertiary education level where career decisions are made.

  • Slow Technological Innovation

And finally, according to a thesis written on the topic of millennials in mining, “the industry has been slower than most in riding the tech wave, so millennials are not aware of the technological advancements that are now happening in the industry. In a society where our social currency is heavily reliant on trends and likes, there is not enough publicity about major technological developments in the industry.”

So, What is the Solution?

If one of the key characteristics of millennials is their tech-savvy nature, then give them a tech-savvy solution. One such solution is the Wyzetalk platform. A leading digital employee experience solution, it bridges the gap by responding to the needs of both mining management and the current and future frontline workforce using the power of a smart or feature phones across three different channels – mobi, app or USSD. As a workplace tool, Wyzetalk features capabilities that allow complex businesses to engage with their frontline employees, wherever they are. Using the platform, not only are employees able to report and be kept informed of incidents and hazards, but they are also exceptionally well-prepared in understanding the extent to which they are being supported and protected. In addition, they have access to training modules and learning-on-the-go with progress assessments.

The Wyzetalk solution facilitates instant two-way communication, the lack of which is cited by many credible resources as a major reason that frontline mining workforces feel disconnected from their leadership, indeed even to the point of interpreting non-communication as a lack of respect. Frontline employees, and millennials, want to know how they contribute to the big picture, and demand to be informed honestly about major, and minor, developments in their working environment. The implementation of the Wyzetalk platform for frontline mining employees improves the overall employee experience, boosting operational performance.

The analytics feature of the platform further enhances the range of Wyzetalk’s capabilities. Data, segmented results, surface trends, insights and advice are available in real-time, as is tracking and reporting. The Wyzetalk solution is literally the touchstone that will drive accurate intelligent collaboration across the boardroom into the hands of every stakeholder. This makes absolute sense to millennials who are looking for digital employers that meet their expectations of tech and quality content.

Frontline collaboration is crucial if the mining industry wants to create an agile and positively responsive workforce. Not only will driving digital transformation through Wyzetalk increase operational efficiency and improve the employee experience, but it will also attract millennials, to ensure a new and younger workforce.

Talk to an Expert to find out how the Wyzetalk platform is helping organisations in the mining industry connect with employees, and attract new talent.