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Mining for Diversity: Changing the Face of the Industry

Martha Roberts, Senior Research Associate, Human Resources Management Research
May 1, 2009

When you think of the mining sector, what first comes to mind? Dirty? Destructive? Dangerous? Mining companies are working to correct such negative impressions and rebrand themselves as attractive employers for non-traditional segments of the labour pool, such as:

  • women;
  • new Canadians;
  • youth;
  • mature workers;
  • Aboriginal Peoples;1 and
  • workers in transition from other industries.

Mining companies are working to rebrand themselves as attractive employers for non-traditional segments of the labour pool.

At the request of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the Conference Board developed a hands-on, practical resource for Canadian mining companies, Mining for Diversity: An Employer’s Guide to Attract, Recruit, and Retain a Diverse Workforce. Released this spring, the guide provides tips, tools, and resources. It also contains dozens of case studies and descriptions of innovative and creative practices that industry employers and MiHR are using to increase workforce diversity, such as the following:

  • Increasing the profile of women in the industry: Many employers support women’s councils and provide formal mentoring and coaching for young women.
  • Helping new Canadians integrate into both the workforce and small communities: Employers ensure that international recruits are welcomed through a community “buddy” program, or support ethnically diverse groups and activities.
  • Recruiting creatively to find mature workers: One employer partners with provincial groups to use “speed jobbing” (similar to speed dating) to screen highly qualified mature talent.
  • Branding the industry as safe, exciting, and environmentally responsible for youth: High school students are flown to remote sites for a “day in the life of a miner” field trip, so they can observe safe and environmentally responsible practices.
  • Helping workers move into mining from industries in decline: MiHR helps workers from other industries make smooth transitions into mining by highlighting the overlap in skills and by providing workforce adjustment tools.
1 Aboriginal Peoples are an important, diverse talent group. MiHR has also partnered with the Aboriginal Human Resource Council on a project called Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining to attract, retain, and advance Aboriginal Peoples in mining.

Martha Roberts
Senior Research Associate
Human Resources Management Research
613-526-3090 ext. 293

Related Research
Report on Diversity: Priorities, Practices, and Performance in Canadian Organizations  
Harnessing the Power: Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining Mature Workers

Related Events
2009 Top Talent: New Strategies for a New Reality

Related Executive Networks
Council on Inclusive Work Environments
Council on Corporate Aboriginal Relations
Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration 
Council of Human Resource Executives