A Failure To Attract? New report looks into the lack of interest in mining jobs by Gen Z

BDO has released a report this month looking into why Gen Z, individuals born in the mid-to-late 1990s, aren't interested in a career in natural resources industries like mining. 

According to the survey commissioned by BDO, a global accounting and business advisory group, nearly half of the world’s natural resources organizations are finding it difficult to attract and retain early-career professionals, with only one in five Canadian students considering a career in natural resources industries. 

“The survey results show that there is both challenge and opportunity ahead for the attraction and retention of young talent within natural resources in Canada,” says Stephen Payne, Advisory Partner, Energy & Natural Resources Leader at BDO Canada in a press release on the study.

“To bridge the talent gap, natural resources organizations will need to not only align more closely with ESG and sustainability objectives but also develop an achievable roadmap that extends beyond compliance.”

Concern with the ‘Great Resignation’ and labour shortage is high for many companies across North America. More companies are seeing employees leave their jobs for opportunities that better suit their needs and expectations, such as roles with greater work-life-balance or jobs that align better with their own values.

The 'Great Resignation' term is thought to be coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor at Texas's A&M University

In the BDO survey, mining and oil industries were ranked the least attractive career choice among the thirteen industries examined by students. Only 15 per cent said they would be ‘very interested’ in pursuing a career in natural resource industries in general, with the large majority showing no interest in mining (74%) or oil & gas (68%).

The report emphasizes that there is a "misalignment between what today’s natural resources leaders think is important to Gen Z and what Gen Z prioritise themselves."

For example, survey results show that one in three students believe improving approaches to health and safety would be necessary to encourage Gen Z to join the oil and gas and mining sectors. Only 13 per cent of corporate individuals identified this as something students were concerned about. 

The report recommends a variety of changes that companies need to make so that natural resource industries are a more compelling career choice for Gen Z. One suggestion is a rebranding of messages, such as building a clearer, more compelling ESG narratives (58 per cent of the students in the survey believed poor ESG credentials was a major drawback to pursuing a career in natural resources) and following through on commitments. 

Survey data for the report was collected across five major market areas in natural resources - Australia, Canada, Latin America, South Africa and the United Kingdom -  and based on 757 perspectives on the natural resources sector, from industry leaders to high school and university students. Read the full report here.