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The South African Mining Industry: How It’s Impacting Recruitment

January 19, 2017

An Interview With Nick Dunnett


Mining remains the largest generator of foreign exchange earnings and it is the largest private employer in South Africa. Direct exports of minerals and metals account for 60% of all export revenue. Mining employs a big section of the population. In 2011 mining employed 513, 211 jobs.
Nick Dunnett is Managing Director at Robert Walters. Below are his views on South Africa’s mining issues and recruitment:

Have Hiring Levels Gone Up, Down Or Remained The Same Since The Strike At Lonmin Mine In Marikana Last Year?

Demand for mining professionals in the first half of the year decreased due to uncertain market conditions caused by the fallout of last year’s strikes. This factor had an adverse affect on confidence in the South African market, with many projects being put on hold and hiring budgets temporarily frozen.

How else has Marikana impacted the industry?

  • The strike at Marikana has had a knock-on-effect on other industries not just mining – we have seen strikes happening with truckers and municipal workers as well as across the automotive industry. In addition many other industries rely on mining such as machinery and chemicals sold to the mining industry

  • South Africa has seen a downgrade of its international credit ratings, the local currency weakened and business confidence dipped

  • The South African rand fell 15% against the dollar in recent months

  • Consumers also pay the price for Marikana with increased food prices and rising petrol costs

  • However there is no proof as yet that Marikana has impacted on South Africa’s ability to attract investors into the country

What Does The Future Look Like?

The government is working on a framework agreement between all stakeholders, aimed at bringing much-needed stability to the industry. Until there is clear guidance from the government on how these issues can be resolved, more strikes are almost inevitable.

What Is Your Key Message For Professionals Looking For A Career Move Within The Mining Industry?

Demand for mining professionals has shifted to focus on exploration and new mines especially in Africa and developing countries. Sought-after skills include geologist, environmental, mining study and drilling skills.

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