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Natural Resource Sector Booming


After a couple of years in the doldrums, 2010 saw heightened optimism returning to the mining industry in general. Some areas like Australia merely slowed rather than going into reverse but now the demand for skilled workers has returned with vengeance and competition to fill those skills gaps around the globe is accelerating.

Never, has talent management been more important but corporate recognition on the imbalance between demand and supply has been slow despite commentators like us banging the drum and shouting wake up.

In our view mining has entered a new era and the boom times are back and will only be constricted by skills shortages.

Just look at these numbers culled from the top 40 mining companies by market capitalisation:

  • Revenues up over 30% – going past $400 billion for the first time
  • Net profit was up 150% to $110 billion
  • Operating cash flows grew nearly 60%, leaving more than $100 billion cash on hand at year end
  • Total assets approached $1 trillion
  • Net debt was only $46 billion, leaving gearing of only 8% giving tremendous balance sheet leverage opportunities

Demand for products, led by the emerging markets, will drive the sector but supply will be the most significant challenge the industry will face.

The need to explore more remote locations and therefore create greater project complexity only adds to mine deeper and wider for precious human resource and this will mean global shopping for talent, by global players.

The numbers are staggering – to keep up with demand, the Top 40 mining companies have announced more than $300 billion of capital programs with over $120 billion planned for 2011, more than double the total in 2010.

We can guarantee that some of these will have to be shelved as there is just not enough talent to go around.

We have been warning existing clients of the global talent crunch for some time. Working in Australia is still proving highly attractive but pay rates are rising. Norway is shopping and paying good rates but the Middle East has yet to recognise the new order and is trying to offer yesterday’s rates in tomorrow’s world.

If any CEO’s are reading this please remember the world is a very small place these days and in the mining industry it is becoming a candidate lead market. Candidates frankly don’t care too much where in the world they work if the package reflects market conditions and known risks.

Interesting times for well positioned international recruitment agencies.

 

Author: Chris Slay

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