The field involves more than 120 occupations for people with all backgrounds and interests
Lisa Blackham is Chair, Diversity Women: BC Mining HR TaskforceTo explore the diverse range of career opportunities and in-demand jobs available in mining, go to: www.acareerinminingbc.ca
If a female close to you — maybe a daughter, niece, or family friend — told you that she was pursuing an education that would ultimately lead her to work in the exploration, mining and aggregates industry, what would your first thought be?
If someone had said that to me 10 years ago, I would have pictured a miner wearing coveralls, a hard hat, steel-toed boots and belt, walking out of an underground tunnel at the end of a long shift covered in dirt, dust and sweat; or a prospector in the middle of the bush, ankle deep in water, hunched over a gold pan looking for an elusive fleck of gold. Both individuals would have been men. But the reality today and in my own experience in the industry, working with people as a human resources manager has markedly evolved into a whole lot more.
Let’s explore the “whole lot more.” Today the exploration and mining industry has one of the broadest range of interdisciplinary positions available, with over 120 occupations for people with all backgrounds and interests. Today’s mining industry provides challenging opportunities in the sciences (geology, environment), technology (engineering), trades (heavy duty mechanic, electricians, welders), heavy equipment operators (haul trucks, shovels, graders) and knowledge-based areas (finance, legal, human resources, health and safety, CSR, public affairs, IT) to name just a few, and this doesn’t include the additional opportunities essential service providers and suppliers bring.
Aside from requiring technical aptitude, many of these careers lend themselves well to the strong traits typically found in women, such as collaboration, teamwork, communication and balancing conflicting priorities.
Many Canadian mining companies have their head offices in Vancouver, providing significant contributions to the provincial economy, with 2012 being a record year with expenditures of $680 million.
Recent statistics conservatively estimate that by 2023 the B.C. mining industry will need 16,770 new workers, due to a retiring workforce and an array of new projects. Combined with the large and diverse number of career paths available, this presents a significant opportunity for women.
Careers are rewarding both professionally and financially. The average annual pay is $115,000 including benefits with opportunities for travel, working with diverse communities and cultures, with many skills being transferable to and from overseas jurisdictions.
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