Sudbury’s mining industry will need 21,440 more workers

Aging workforce, low participation rates, poor image partly to blame: Study

While the mining sector around Sudbury, Ont., currentlyemploys about 25,200 workers, over the next 10 years it will need almost 21,440more workers, according to a study released by Sudbury & ManitoulinWorkforce Planning.

The projected labour shortages in the mining and miningsupply services industries are the result of an aging workforce; pending retirementsof knowledgeable, experienced workers; low participation rates in the mining industryby Aboriginal people, women and new immigrants; challenges in attracting local youthto mining professions; and a poor image of the industry.

“Even if the mining industry stays the same, we will need almost21,440 more workers to fill current jobs and... finding these workers, particularlythose in the skilled trades, could pose a significant problem for the industry,”said Reggie Caverson, executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury &Manitoulin.

The forecast study SudburyHiring Requirements Mining Forecasts 2013 used a labour market forecasting systemand a variety of factors to predict changes in employment in the industry such ascommodity prices, productivity factors, demographic and regional data, along withstakeholder interviews and surveys to validate and regionalize the information.

“This research confirms what we already suspected; that significantshortages in highly skilled professions and experienced skilled trades will impactthe industry if we don’t do something now. It provides us with a clearer pictureof the number of people that are needed in specific mining occupations to supportthe industry over the coming years,” said Jonathan Laderoute, co-chair businessfor Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin.

The study makes several recommendations including:

•increasing mining’s share of available talent

•improving the image of the mining industry

•integrating mining education into school curriculum to promotemining-related occupations as a viable career choice

•strengthening industry and post-secondary education partnerships

•optimizing the work environment to balance new technology withworkforce needs

•encouraging underutilized pools of talent to enter the industry

•developing more flexible apprenticeship ratios

•using older workers to mentor younger workers

•retaining employees during economic downturns. 

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