Just as any other country in the developed world, Canada is having an aging population. The aging population is because of two main factors. One of the factors concerns life expectancy that has increased. The other factor is because the baby boomers that were born from 1946 to 1965 are attaining the age of retirement and hence, going home with their skills. The lower rate of birth in the country has made the subsequent generations be lesser. One of the consequences of the population that seems to be aging is reduced growth rate in the labor force. Further, there is looming demand for labor in major sectors in the region as mining industry especially the gold miming industry. This paper discusses the labor and talent shortage in the gold mining industry of Canada and explores how the talent shortage can be curbed through proper human resource management.
The turbulent nature of the gold mining industry means the industry needs talented persons to do the mining task. This is a unique challenge faced by Canadian gold mining companies is skilled miners that are attaining the retirement age.. The talent shortage is also linked to the economic cycles of the country. Talent shortage is a cross cutting issue among the junior and the biggest gold companies in Canada. The smaller companies lack adequate resources to hire in house persons on a full time basis. Besides, the junior gold mining companies don’t have time to engage in the required procedures of hiring employees. Currently, there are a lot of gold mining industries mushrooming in Canada because of the increased prices of gold metal. These increased numbers of industries have exacerbated the labor skills shortage. The reluctance of both the small and large mining organization to outsource current technologies in gold mining has contributed to their technological backwardness in the industry.
Labor shortages in Canadian mining companies is also due to the extra number of skilled persons that are more than the number of available jobs in Canada. The gold mining industry is an exceptional one because it requires specialized skills such as apprenticeship and drilling besides the college degree. Usually, skills required in the gold mining industry are attained by on the job training. The increasing Canadian population is adding pressure on the available goods and services from the gold mining industry. The industry, which is among the largest firms in Canada is foreseen to be deficient of 140 000 workers in the next 7 years. The labour demand is currently based on the existing production which is likely to increase as the gold mining industry expand in future. As investments in the gold mining industry increase, the levels of labor demand will increase too. If the number of graduates in gmining fields (geology, engineering) is not encouraged, both the gold mining industries and the economy will lose. Women hardly train in these fields and hence, the need to train women to compete equally with the men. Gold mining as a profession has also received less attention among the teachers, parents and students as the focus has shifted to professions like law and banking. Less attention in gold mining profession is also because mining of gold involves quarrying which is cumbersome. Professions linked to gold mining comprise about 20% of the intakes in major technological programs. One reason that has led to a decrease in the intake of technology-mining programs is because the students are not aware of the gold mining industry requirements. Many students are concentrating on mathematics and programming at the expense of specialization in the gold mining industries. For some students, the attainments of maximum grades in subjects that can lead them to the mining industry at graduate schools make them shift their attention to other courses. The ultimate result is the reduction of talents in the gold mining industries. If such a trend continues for an extended, lesser talents are witnessed in the gold mining industry. Parents have either directly or indirectly contributed to the talent and labor shortage in the mining industry of Canada.
Parents are not aware that if their students do not engage in science and engineering professions, their opportunities in the job market will be compromised. Currently, there is a severe decline in students who take engineering and other science subjects that can land in the gold mining industry. Compared to a decade ago, these subjects have been less preferred by students at both masters and undergraduate levels. To make matters worse, some students take the subjects at undergraduate level and opt to drop them during their master’s studies. One consequence of this trend is that foreign students have taken over all gold mining research activities in Canada. Since the jobs in Canada are always more rewarding for the graduate students, unlike those in their countries of origin, the students remain in Canada for an extended period. Within gold mining industries present in Canada, the practical experience, talent shortage is felt very much. Fresh graduates in the Canadian job market do not have pratctical experience when they go to the gold mining job market. This is because young graduates fresh from college have not had an opportunity to gain such experience. If such graduates are denied opportunities to get into gold mining industries, their chances of gaining the practical experience will be greatly limited. Hence, the problem of talent shortage will accumulate to a perennial one. The definition of professions that can work in the gold mining industry is too broad, and some even outdated. Some of such the definitions are not precise. Thus, a lot of work needs to be done in an attempt to classify profession and skills required in the gold mining industry. There is also a new blame that seems to be coming up. There are allegations that concentrating on science subjects underpins efforts devoted towards development of talents in the 21st century. The myth that concentrating on science limits the talent development should be weeded out among students. This will enable the students to see the integration that exists between mathematics, science and engineering in the development of gold mining careers.
A question that remains answered is how skilled labor shortage in the mining industry will be met in the country. The solution greatly depends on the cause of low labor shortage. Since most gold mining industries are dominated by men, human resource management that involes women in gold mining industries should be supported. For women to be productive in the gold mining industries considering other roles they occupy in the society, the working hours need to be flexible.Human resorce management that are flexible will enable them balance their career and social lives. On job training should be encouraged within the gold mining industries. Additionally, internship programs in the gold mining industries would be useful for fresh graduates to acquire practical skills in gold mining. Another important suggestion that seems useful in eradicating skills inadequacy, in the Canadian gold mining industry is by human resource management policies that allows room for collaboration between educational organizations and employers. This step will both increase levels and varieties of skills available workers in the industry. As mentioned earlier, a lot of skilled are approaching the retirement phase leading to reduced talent in the gold mining industry. Creating a link between those who have retired and those taking new positions can help in exploring the untapped skills in the industry. Incentives can also be given to foreign workers so that they can migrate to Canada. Migration either by temporary or permanent immigration can help with bridge up the talent gap in the gold mining industry. To this effect, there is a temporary work program available for foreigners to enable them to provide talent in the mining industry of Canada. This program has been adopted by human resource managers of most gold mining companies. Students also need to be encouraged from the early life to start developing interest from their early life. Career development officers in colleges have been encouraged to guide students to choose the neglected gold mining profession. The Canadian government has initiated grants to sensitize young children in the age group amid 10 to 12 to develop interest in science subjects. Another program that is in place to help in the development of science based subjects is Promo Science.
In my opinion, talks concerning science need to be the talk of the day. Persons need to relate mathematics and physics and generate the linkage to practical science as using Smart phones of Blackberry. The Federal government in conjunction with both territorial and provincial governments needs to work together in supporting science, engineering, mathematics and engineering.These subjects are essential in the gold mining industry. The emphasis of such trainings should focus on women who are underrepresented in the gold mining industry.
In conclusion, we learn a lot of lessons from the talent shortage in the gold mining industry of Canada. It would be good to look at the consequences of labor and talent shortage in the Canadian gold mining industry in attempt to finding the solution to labor shortage. One drawback of this shortage is that Canada will be rendered less competitive not only in the region, but also in the entire global economy. The feasible future of Canada will be dissipated by the talent challenges. Measures need to be put in place to help curb the increasing labor and talent shortage in Canada. As stated earlier, a joint effort involving all the stakeholders will be very helpful.
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