Times appear to be tough for the tech industries.
No sooner had Elon Musk laid off nearly half of Twitter’s employees following his multibillion-dollar takeover than Mark Zuckerberg announced 11,000 redundancies from Meta. Only a few days later, Amazon’s plans to lose more than 10,000 employees became public.
Alphabet, Apple, Chime, Dapper Labs, the Digital Currency Group, Galaxy Digital, Intel, Lyft, Opendoor, Peloton, Qualcomm, Salesforce, Seagate, Stripe, and Upstart have also been named in a recent Bloomberg listing of tech firms announcing job losses and recruitment freezes. And in mid-November, FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange, filed for bankruptcy.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc report that the tech industry in the US shed 9,587 jobs in October alone.
All of this means the war for tech talent may be about to become a little easier.
Mining and other capital-intensive industries have always struggled to compete with the Silicon Valley cool of Google and co. As John Murray noted in his Mining and Society series of blogs, “Young talent well-versed in the new technologies are more attracted to the cleaner, greener world of IT than an industry they’ve been led to perceive as dirty, destructive and morally questionable.”.
Yet, as John goes on to observe, these digital natives are precisely the talent the sector needs to attract as mining embraces AI, robotics, automation, and digitalisation with an ever-increasing sense of urgency and enthusiasm.
As an increased supply of available tech talent becomes available, there may never have been a better time for well-resourced, forward-thinking mining firms to secure the tech skills they need to drive this change.
However, an opportunistic recruitment strategy built on the medium-term desperation of those who have seen the roles to which they aspired disappear before their eyes, is unlikely to be sustainable.
The need for mining to sell itself as an attractive sector that recognises the importance of values, purpose and work/life balance is undiminished. There is still a necessity to address the environmental, social and governance concerns, real and imagined, that many younger people hold about the industry.
And the requirement to demonstrate the role that mining plays in providing the raw materials and energy essential for everything from an iPhone to a wind turbine remains a challenge.
We all recognise that mining needs to clean up its act, literally and figuratively. We have an opportunity to acquire the tech talent that can help us do so.
But we will only keep them if we can demonstrate that they will be trusted and empowered to make it happen.
Image (c) Shutterstock | Gorodenkoff