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Kevin Gill is a Principal Consultant in the CSG Talent global mining recruitment team. He works largely in the mid-tier mining market and brings people together from all four corners of the globe; covering assignments mainly in North America, the US, Australia, Africa, and parts of Europe. Kevin specialises in Mining Technical Services and, in particular, Underground Mine Engineering. The roles he typically recruits for include planning and design, geotechnical, and a range of senior management to executive level positions.
Kevin shares his insights into the Mining Engineering sector, his role, and what it’s like to work for CSG Talent.
What are the key trends you are seeing in the Mining industry right now?
Mining plays a large part in solving some of the key challenges facing humanity, and none more so than in our lifetime. Global warming and tackling carbon emissions are top of the agenda; and eco-friendly solutions such as electric vehicles, battery technologies, and (safe) renewable energy are right up there; all produced with mined materials like lithium and nickel; so there has been a huge rise in demand for these commodities. Additionally, with the impact of the pandemic in the last few years, people have been investing heavily in gold which has driven gold prices to record highs. This has subsequently led to gold mining companies all over the world developing their operations further and, in turn, increasing the need to identify and secure talent for the skills in demand.
What mining jobs are in demand within the industry currently?
In my space it’s mainly planning, and then geotechnical, engineers. These engineers are specialists in their field; and play a critical role in efficient mine production and mine development. These types of engineers are in very high demand, and can be difficult to find which has resulted in an increased number of mine planning opportunities.
What challenges do businesses currently face within the mining industry?
The ‘war for talent’ is certainly high on the executive agenda. Large investment is being made into mining operations, at this time, as they continue to develop and increase production. Businesses are becoming more competitive to entice talent to the table, and then retain them. This is leading to candidates having many options of where they can work, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get people through the door.
Another challenge for newer mining businesses is financing. It is a precarious industry, with many technicalities, and often large risk, including safety; if a company is not well established, with multiple operations, there is certainly a risk of failure. Mining businesses need to be performing, and subsequently self-sustaining, to keep shareholders and investors happy. It can be a fine line to thrive in such a competitive space.
What are the main motivations for candidates within this space?
A huge factor for candidates is knowing who they are going to be working with; they want to know the calibre of people they will be rubbing shoulders with, day to day; and, importantly, who they will be mentored by; this is very important for professional engineers. Since I’ve been working in the industry, I recognised quickly there is a huge appetite for personal career development / progression for engineers. And, largely, the only way they are going to be able to do that is with exposure to differing operations, roles and responsibilities. Many engineers have this mapped out in the infancy of their careers.
Understandably, engineers also want a decent quality of life, while on the operations, as mining sites are often in remote and inhospitable places. They want a good environment in which to work, and quite often want to know what the camp is like, and what the fly in, fly out arrangements are; for example, does the company pay for the travel, do they reimburse travel expenses, and is travel on their time or the company time. These types of considerations are important for engineers to know, and thoroughly understand, before joining any business.
Interestingly, in North America, I have found, pay and remuneration are not the sole driving factor for candidates; here they tend to be more focused on the working environment and conditions. This is in comparison to what we experience elsewhere, where engineers are driven by differing motivations.
Some operations cannot facilitate fly in, fly out arrangements. They may not have an airport / airstrip nearby, or they might not have a camp facility. Subsequently, there are organisations looking for people who will relocate to these locations. Also, we have found that often with more senior engineering roles, companies want them to live close by to the operation; they want them to be nearby and easily accessible.
does your approach to recruitment make you stand out from others operating the
mining recruitment sector?
I work quite differently to other recruiters, and I’ve done so for many years now. My approach is to seek very high-quality candidates, and then stimulate market interest for them. This approach has been very effective for me; and we often find positions are created for these types of high calibre individuals.
What does an average day/week look like for you?
My time is mostly made up of sourcing / networking, and then reach out to build relationships, understand motivations, skills, and experience; so, I can effectively support that next career move. My time is also committed to building relationships with our clients, understanding business needs and business structure to establish the areas in which I can successfully support. Which one I focus on really depends on what’s live at the time. For example, at the moment, I’m coming off the tail end of four very busy months in Canada; so, I’m currently looking for high calibre candidates, people who are motivated, and want to move. From there I can proactively look for logical ‘homes’ for them; whether that is geographically close to where they live or a commodity, they want to gain exposure to, for example. In my role there is a lot of investigative work and research.
What makes CSG Talent successful and stand out from other executive search firms?
I’ve never come across an organisation quite like CSG Talent; our people are all very driven and committed to making a difference. What makes the company so different to other organisations is the autonomy and flexibility. This is something that really resonates for me; as long as I’m getting the results then how, and largely when, I do my work is not questioned. Our people want to perform because we respect that autonomy and that makes us very different.
The reactions to CSG Talent never cease to amaze me either. I might speak to a client in Canada, for example, who we may not have had any relationship with prior, and they say they’ve heard of CSG Talent. I even had one client who remarked, “apparently you are the go-to recruiters in mining”, and this was before we had any interaction with the organisation; our reputation seems to proceed us. I know we have a great depth of expertise, and a solid reputation, which affirms we have a strong global presence.
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To get in touch with Kevin Gill, view his profile here or contact: email@example.com