5 Ways To Become A Leader In The Mining Industry

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A shortage of talent threatens to delay, downsize and even cancel mining projects around the world.

In Canada, where 40% of the mining workforce is set to retire within the next 10 years, finding and hiring a skilled worker is like striking gold.

That’s good news for ambitious entry-level workers hoping to climb up the corporate ladder, says Andrew Pollard, president of Vancouver-based executive search firm The Mining Recruitment Group.

This includes people in scientific roles like geologists and engineers, those responsible for operational functions like equipment operators and tradespeople, and traditional support staff like analysts and lawyers.

As a recent grad, you can set yourself apart from your co-workers and become a leader in your organization by doing these five things during your first five years:

In your first five years in mining…

1. Be really good at what you were hired to do

“If you were hired as a geologist, being a good geologist should be your main focus,” Pollard says.

Before you think about promotions and career advancement, it’s important to show your boss that you’re committed to excelling in your current role.

2. Diversify your skills

“Look for opportunities beyond your job title in investor relations or as company spokesperson at conferences and tradeshows.” —Andrew Pollard, President, The Mining Recruitment Group

Once you get a handle on your primary function, Pollard recommends that you become familiar with other aspects of the mining business.

“Look for opportunities beyond your job title in investor relations or as company spokesperson at conferences and tradeshows,” he says.

One of the ways mining workers can diversify their skills is by enrolling in the Canadian Securities Course. On the other hand, workers who lack technical skills could consider enrolling in a mining-related training program.

3. Look for a mentor and be open to being mentored

“Find someone who really likes mentoring people and soak up as much information as you can,” Pollard says.

The same goes if you’re in an operational or supporting role. Reach out to someone you admire, who is accessible and whose leadership style you want to emulate.

4. Choose development over compensation

Map out your 15-year career plan and work your way backwards to get to where you want to be, Pollard suggests.

By doing so, you’re more likely to choose companies and positions that provide the best opportunities for professional growth and development in addition to an attractive compensation and incentive package.

5. Never say no

Take initiative and build a trusting relationship with your employer, Pollard says – that’s what a recent grad with two years experience did before they were promoted to manage a massive project.

So, if your boss asks you to meet with investors or visit a site, never say no.

What’s your plan for becoming a leader in the mining industry over the next 10 years?

Mining Week - student and entry level jobs in mining from companies like Vale, Goldcorp, Barrick and BHP Billiton

Photo credit: MINES_ParisTech

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