Home, sweet home is not necessarily where the jobs are. If you live on the Eastern Cape coast or in Cape Town, for example, chances are that you’re going to have to look further afield than a short commute to find your next mining job.
Despite the recent challenging economic times, the demand for skilled and qualified mining professionals is still greater than the pool of potential candidates available. But rarely are the most lucrative or challenging jobs right on your doorstep, so as a mining job seeker you may need to be flexible in considering opportunities across the country in order to progress your career.
For mining or engineering graduates, at least two years on a mine or production site is expected to fulfil bursary requirements or to gain the necessary exposure and certificates to be able to build your career. But after the obligatory period spent in a remote corner of South Africa, many mining professionals look to the corporate centres for a new role. But extending your time spent ‘at the coalface’ can improve your job prospects in the long run.
Although most skilled mining professionals are in demand, the biggest need that we’re seeing from our clients is for mining engineers and production and mine managers with a proven track record of achievement and the flexibility to work countrywide.
If mobility isn’t an issue, you could consider site and regional office-based jobs in these areas:
- Platinum – North West (Rustenburg) and the Eastern Limb (Polokwane, Lebowa, Potgieterus)
- Gold – Gauteng (Carletonville)
- Coal – Mpumalanga (Witbank) and Limpopo (Waterberg, Lephalale)
- Iron ore – Northern Cape (Kathu)
- Mangenese – Northern Cape (Hotazel, Kuruman)
- Diamonds – Northern Cape (Kimberley)
- Copper – Limpopo (Phalaborwa)
Like in most industries, mining hiring managers prefer candidates with diverse, relevant experience for a role and a consistent track record of achievement. By advancing your career in at least a couple of more remote roles, you could benefit in the following ways:
Corporate progression – to be considered for a corporate or head office role, hiring managers always want to see evidence of ‘hard time on the ground’. Understanding the fundamentals of a mining operation is crucial, and exposure to many different mining and production environments will work in your favour.
It’s not usually a straight transition from site to an operational corporate role so it’s likely that you’ll enter the corporate structure in a project or process focused role. Varied site-based experience widens your options and the types of role you can consider when transitioning over. Also, if you decide to enter the consultancy world, exposure to many different practices and commodities can only up your value.
Mine/production site progression – a corporate career isn’t for everyone, and many mining professionals relish the site-based life. Progress through this managerial route may also be expedited through experience of diverse practices, environments and commodities.
Specialists are usually in higher demand than generalists, but a succession of engineering roles dealing with different commodities within the same type of mining environment (open cast /underground) can facilitate the right type of exposure to excel in a general management role on site.
Financially lucrative - the cost of relocating to a new area, or working away from home is usually picked up the employer. Also, jobs based outside of South Africa’s major centres sometimes offer higher remuneration or additional benefits .These factors, coupled with the lower cost of living in smaller centres or rural areas can positively influence your earnings.
As a mining professional in South Africa, the opportunities to progress your career locally are excellent, especially if you’re open on where you’re based. If you’re flexible in the short-term, chances are that you’ll see the financial and career benefits in the medium and long-term.
To find out more about the mining and engineering jobs that we recruit, country-wide, please get in touch with Nick Gordon.