Chilean Mining Workforce Trends untill 2032
A study was recently released by CCM-Eleva that evaluates the Chilean mining industry workforce between 2023 and 2032. It is the the only sectorial study in Chile that gathers and diagnoses the current state of the job market and provides projections for the next decade at a national level. It is done in conjunction with 27 mining companies and suppliers, covering 96% of the industry, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Mining.
The goal of the study is to support public policy and the industry in terms of where there are gaps in human talent, training, technological impact, and gender equity. The study review trends from past years and has important projections for the next 10 years. These insights are particularly important for mining companies and suppliers since the industry is rapidly changing which requires a workforce that is prepared for the future.
We have provided a brief summary of the report and the most important conclusions. The full report can be found here.
Chilean Mining Workforce
- The mining industry in Chile is made up of 238,781 people. 57,898 workers are hired directly by mining companies and the other 180,883 work for supplier companies.
- The study reports the highest employment rate in 12 years, showing a 38% increase with respect to 2020 and 22% with respect to 2011.
- The latest study shows that supplier companies have a larger amount of young workers compared to mining companies. Supplier companies tend to have more workers that correspond to the ages between 30 and 34 years old, which represent 19% of the total. WIth mining companies, the majority age group corresponds to workers between 35 and 39 years old.
- From 2016 to date, the average age of workers has been decreasing for both mining and supplier companies. That is, there are younger workers being hired but it is not substantial. Young workers are still under represented in the industry.
- For the last 10 years, the number of local workers has remained stable. Approx. 7 out of every 10 people who work in the industry are also considered locals. According to the latest measurement, local workers in the industry decreased to 67% of the total work force from 70%. It is unknown if this is a trend or not.
- The labor participation of women in mining did not exceed 10% until 2018. From the last two measurements, corresponding to the years 2020 and 2022, the participation of women working in the industry has increased significant, reaching 15%.
- Although both mining companies and suppliers have increased the labor participation of women, it is the mining companies that have experienced the greatest increase since 2018, reaching a female participation rate of 17% in 2022.
- 1 in every 3 people hired by mining companies in 2022 were women, this represents the hiring of 2,554 women in the last twelve months.
- Chile has a percentage of female participation in the labor market below that of developed countries or other economies in the region. However, regarding the participation of women in mining, the country is in a better position, surpassing Peru and on par to the United States.
- The occupational group displaying the largest female participation was within the Professionals Group, followed by Operators, Supervisors, and Maintainers
- There have been significant increases since the 2020 study showing more woman who hold decision making positions. The increase is greater in the positions of Deputy Managers/Superintendents and Heads.
- It be concluded that are four groups of technologies that are the most likely to be adapted into the Chilean mining industry: Automation, Remote Operation, Digitalization and Robotization. The incorporation of these technologies has resulted in the installation of several Integrated Operations Centers throughout the country.
- In particular, it is estimated that the profiles of operators and maintainers will be those that will be most impacted by the incorporation of new technologies. This becomes highly relevant taking into consideration that technological changes are expected to accelerate within the next five years (if not already).
- There are three main actions in relation to improving the human capitial when introducing new technologies: upskilling, reskilling and hiring. Study participants estimate that upskilling current workers will be used the most as new technologies are incorporated.
- By 2022, nearly 24 thousand people will enter a higher education program related to mining, a number that has been decreasing since 2015. Regarding the participation of women, it reached 13% of enrollments last year.
- For the period 2023-2032, the training opportunities for the mining sector is expected to be 20,420 people, concentrating mainly in the areas of Mineral Extraction (5000 people) and Geology and Exploration (4000 people).
- In 2022, 55% of first-year enrollments joining the higher education system represented women. This number is way far from the scenario seen in mining- related programs where female enrollments only reach 13%.
- This is a major challenge for the sector. Having more women graduates from careers related to mining directly affects the fulfillment of the goal of increasing the participation of women in the industry to 20% by 2030 and 35% by 2050 (Goal No. 20 ofthe Policy National Mining 2050).
- Another challenge is to broaden the view of careers and programs that have traditionally been considered linked to mining. The rapid process of adoption and 4.0 technologies has created new jobs that were not in the past not typically required in the industry but are now in high demand.
- The projected demand by the industry for 2032 is 34,009 workers. Of these, 80% corresponds to replacing workers who retire, and the remainder will be required to operate the portfolio of new greenfield and brownfield projects.
- There are more workers who are projected to retire that are based in supplier companies in comparison to mining companies. An important point for supplier companies.
- It is expected that at the end of the next decade (2023-2032) there will be an aggregate demand for 6,500 new workers as a result of the growth of the industry. The peak is projected for 2026, with an annual demand of 11,519 people in the main value chain. Of the new jobs created, 67% will be related to supplier companies in the sector.
- Mechanical maintainers (who tend to concentrate more in supplier companies) accumulate by far the greatest demand, reaching 10,340 workers towards the end of the decade.
- The greatest demand for human capital will be concentrated in profiles linked to maintenance (mechanical maintainer; maintenance supervisor; maintenance professional; mechanical maintainer) and operation (fixed and mobile equipment operator). They represent, respectively, 51% and 31% of the industry’s demand for the next decade.
- The most critical deficits of human capital in maintenance areas occur in the profiles linked to technical training (mechanical, electrical maintainer, and maintenance supervisor), and therefore, they are the most relevant to train in the next few years.
- Likewise, there is still a great challenge when responding to the demand for equipment operation profiles (fixed or mobile), taking into consideration the technological changes that the industry is already projecting in the short term.
The report does a great job of outlining some of the most important aspects of the Chilean mining workforce. We believe there are some important lessons for suppliers so that they are prepared for the future.
- Mining companies are hiring more female employees then supplier companies. There is already an expectation by mining companies that suppliers demonstrate higher female participation in their ranks. This trend will continoue to increase and companies with a more diverisfied work force could have an advantage when bidding on projects. Suppliers will need to attract, hire, and train more females in the coming years.
- Suppliers will be impacted by the shortage of certain technical professionals, particularly around positions related to mechanics, Maintenace, and Operators. This will increase wages and competition between suppliers for workers with this type of experience and training. Suppliers will need to attract more females to these technical roles, create training and internships that help improve the skills of workers, and providing opportunities to younger professionals.
The Chilean mining industry supports many families throughout the country. Reports such as these provide valuable information to all of the stakeholders that will guide policies and future decisions. While our focus may be suppliers, it is government and universities who will have important roles to ensure that there is workforce well prepared for the future mining industry.
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