SUMMERXCHANGE Kicks Off With Workforce Panel Discussion

Nancy Profera

July 19, 2022

The SME SUMMERXCHANGE 2022 got underway with a workforce panel discussion the morning of July 19 covering topics of recruiting and retaining talent in mining, and the changing needs of workers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People, primarily women, have been dropping out of the workforce, often because they lack affordable day care. Data and statistics were presented that support the changing face of work. Even tenured employees are leaving the workforce, with people rethinking their priorities since the pandemic. Overall, flexibility is a driver and need for so many today.

Well-being and holistic health are also presenting as important topics and factors to attract and retain a happy and healthy workforce, and those companies who invest in it are seeing positive results.

While the United States has an overall rate of 7 percent open jobs, in mining that number is even higher at 7.4 percent. There is no one silver bullet to change these factors, and the panelists discussed the importance of each person’s individual contributions toward developing the workforce.

“Workforce - The Paradigm Shift” was moderated by Jill Nelson, managing founder of Brooks & Nelson, and Anita Bertisen, a recruiter with Brooks & Nelson.

Discussion topics included “Recruiting Students for the Future” led by Sarah Lizarraga, an outreach coordinator with the Colorado School of Mines. Lizarraga has been working to introduce students who are undecided or undeclared in their majors at the school to the broad variety of earth sciences, mining and petroleum work opportunities and engineering disciplines they can pursue. Since many of the students she meets are unfamiliar with mining, Lizarraga said she “invites” students to take a class in mining so they can learn more about the many types of jobs available in the industry.

The “Women and Workforce” discussion was led by Nicholas Hendren, a human resources manager at Newmont. The company is the largest gold miner in the world but has only 10 percent female workers and has been actively working to change that. Hendren discussed efforts to recruit and retain more females, and the ways Newmont has been successful at doing this by creating a more welcoming day-to-day experience for women. The company’s efforts are paying off as they have now realized better retention of their female hires.

“Millennial Impact” was led by Sean McDonald, a senior construction engineer at Jay Dee Contractors. “Remote Work: Best Practices and Insights” was led by Carl Burkhalter, a partner at NewFields; and “Leadership’s Role in Workplace Wellbeing” was led by Joline Lenz, a “talent sleuth” at Brooks & Nelson.

You can watch the recording and join in the rest of SUMMERXCHANGE by registering here Recordings and virtual events will be available through Sept. 30.


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