Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine?


With digital advancement comes a need to ensure your workers are equipped with the right skillsets

Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine? Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine? Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine? Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine? Is Your Workforce Prepared for the Digital Mine?

Rockwell Automation

Today we find ourselves in a unique global position. Mine operations may be paused or disrupted due to Covid-19, but it shouldn't stop you from looking to the future to how you're going to address one of the mining industry's top challenges: the evolving workforce.

Digital technologies are changing the way mines operate and how they solve challenges like keeping up with growing demand while addressing declining ore grades. As this transformation continues, we will see a greater need for digital skills to use new tools that can help improve productivity and visibility in mines. And new workers with specialized skills will be needed to help mining companies get value from their data and from new technologies like machine learning.

Reshaping your workforce for your digital mine could prove difficult as you compete for hard-to-find skilled workers. Talent shortages, for example, are currently cited as a top risk for mining companies and are the most severe since 2006. And 95% of candidates that mining companies would like to hire are currently employed or engaged elsewhere. [1]

But by taking some critical steps to modernize your workforce, you can put your business in the best position possible to attract and retain the employees you need in the digital era.

A Changing Workforce

Technology in today's mines is reshaping the work employees do and the skills they use to do it.

For starters, a mix of technical skills and soft skills like project management, communication and change management are increasingly key to success. But roles are also drastically evolving as mining operations become more digitalized.

Drivers, for example, are becoming remote operators. And maintenance mechanics are transitioning into predictive maintenance specialists. Meanwhile, multi-skilled engineers are combining mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering skills into one role.

Entirely new roles are emerging, a prime example is a vendor- or OEM-collaboration manager. This role handles integration efforts and works with the external resources to increase the success of new technology.

With the right development opportunities, a collaboration manager could be a career progression for drivers or machine operators, plant operators, engineers, or others with mining process aptitude and strong interpersonal skills.

Sourcing this role from internal candidates will be essential, as these employees must bring expertise in core operations and processing functions and often require deep machine or process knowledge. Internal candidates have existing relationships and organizational context to represent the interests and unique needs of the company.

Of course, with so much change in roles, modernizing your workforce might feel like an overwhelming task. So, consider focusing your efforts on two things: modernizing your employment value proposition (EVP) and developing a strong workforce strategy.

Modernize Your EVP

It's inevitable that you'll find yourself competing with not only other mining companies but also other industries for the best talent. To help secure the skilled workers you need, take steps to update your EVP.

An EVP is an exchange. The employer offers a work environment with pay, benefits, culture and opportunity, while the employee brings the valued skills, experience and work ethic that the employer needs.

An EVP is more than just human resource hype. Organizations with attractive EVPs can reduce the compensation premiums for attracting qualified candidates and potentially reduce annual turnover by nearly 70%.[2]

The best way to do this is by looking at your roles from the potential employee's perspective. Why should they work for you over another employer in the industry? What will make them stay at your company? What capabilities can they bring forward? What work environment will you provide them with?

The answers to these questions will help lead you to your modernized EVP.

Four Strategies for Success

Building your workforce requires more than updating your hiring practices. You need a combination of workforce strategies - or the "four Bs" of workforce development - to gain and groom the employees you need in your digital mines.

Build: This is often the first strategy companies look at when navigating workforce changes and transformations. It involves investing in learning and development to grow your talent pipeline. Tactics such as identifying future potential, providing accelerated learning programs and building a culture of learnability are key components of this strategy.

Buy: This involves looking outside of your company for talent. Many of the roles that mining companies seek are built on skills that are present in other industries. But you will need to be cognizant of your EVP, because the candidates you're seeking may see other industries as more appealing, at least on the surface.

Borrow: This strategy involves leveraging outside talent communities like freelancers, contract employees and temporary workers. In some cases, these workers can bring skills that are especially valuable for digitalized operations. Freelancers and contract employees, for example, tend to have experience working remotely, which can help them support multiple mines at once.

Bridge: This requires creating a proactive and smooth relocation plan for individuals who aren't used to a new organizational strategy or its required competencies. Digital transformation and automation have created a skills revolution, where new skills emerge as fast as others become obsolete. It's crucial that you are able to not only optimize the skills you have in your workforce but also find alternate pathways for those whose skills are no longer a fit.

Consulting companies are a great resource for helping employers and employees with the process of finding another occupation that leverages the employee's skills and experience.

Get to Work

Technology is changing the mining industry quickly. As this transition occurs, you need to make sure your workforce evolves with it by having the right skillsets.

You can get ahead of these workforce changes by understanding how roles and positions have changed, modernizing your EVP and developing a workforce strategy that takes your company from now to next.

Learn more about prepping your workforce of tomorrow at ‌


About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. We connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what is humanly possible, making the world more productive and more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs approximately 23,500 problem solvers dedicated to our customers in more than 100 countries. To learn more about how we are bringing The Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit

[1] ManpowerGroup analysis of Gartner & TalentNeuron findings

[2] Gartner Says Companies in the U.S. Are Overpaying To Attract New Talent, Gartner, 2019


We bring The Connected Enterprise to life by integrating control and information across the enterprise to help industrial companies and their people be more productive and sustainable.




We bring The Connected Enterprise to life by integrating control and information across the enterprise to help industrial companies and their people be more productive and sustainable.