We’ve been saying it all along….. You have less women studying STEM degrees but of those that do only a minority end up working in the mining sector. The image still hasn’t improved in the last 10 years I have been working in the mining sector. It’s not just that it doesn’t attract women , it also doesn’t attract generation Y men. Add to that a previous skills shortage, the fact that many experienced professionals are retiring, that the current long downcycle has rhymed with redundancy for many to name but a few challenges. Those that have lost their jobs have in part been forced to work in other sectors as there were no opportunities in mining, others are hanging on because they financially can afford to. The students that finally were studying mining related degrees in higher numbers, many of them women now graduate and there are no jobs. All of this points to another skills shortage to come that will add itself to the previous one which hadn’t been solved/absorbed yet.
The sector is fascinating and loved by most who know it and work in it, it is an imperative to give mining a new face! One that shows the diversity of people and skills working in it and one that shows how technology and best practice have evolved. Mining needs talent and it can’t be forgotten that everything that isn’t farmed is mined meaning this is a huge sector of the economy feeding many other sectors and governments. A vital sector but unattractive.