José Raúl Guerrero
Mexico and Central of Korn Ferry

Finding, Assessing and Placing the Right Talent

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:14

While Mexico has more engineers graduating annually than Germany, it still does not have enough professionals for the mining industry. “Young talent usually chooses to work in industries that seem more appealing,” says José Raúl Guerrero, President Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean of Korn Ferry. “The challenge is to make mining more attractive, which I believe can be accomplished through better communication.”
The global talent pool has grown in recent years. According to the World Bank, the total workforce grew from 2.3 billion people in 1990 to 3.4 billion in 2017. But many countries are still experiencing scarcity. To assess the Mexican mining situation, Korn Ferry carried a survey on mining salaries, with the participation of 43 mines and 29 business groups. Findings suggest that other industries, like oil and gas and automotive, require similar talent and are attracting mining workers.
According to Guerrero, security, safety and environmental issues are some of the factors making mining jobs uninviting to millennials. “The reality is that new generations usually do not consider mining,” he says. “The key is to focus on an early engagement at university-level with the people that will be targeted for recruitment in the future.” Since new generations are much more conscious about quality of life, he also believes companies should highlight the best practices of mining companies in terms of human capital and retention. Korn Ferry specializes in talent attraction, selection and retention, but also in helping companies design competitive, modern, creative and attractive compensation strategies. “We are a one-stop talent store with an added value in advising the industry in all the particularities of human capital management,” he says. “Our methodology starts with analyzing the industry from a global perspective and the talent competition it has from other sectors.”  
In attracting the best talent, Korn Ferry is a believer in the usefulness of a data-driven approach. “We have significantly invested in Big Data analysis. Our talent assessments allow identifying customized profiles for each client’s needs,” he explains. Korn Ferry’s assessments are a key tool for building a company’s human resources, allowing to timely identify any red flags in talent management. “We perform a deep involvement in our client’s processes and day-to-day operations. This gives us a meaningful idea of their needs.” Guerrero adds that the mining industry used to be in constant search for technical skills and overlooked social competencies. “But in the latest processes that we have carried in Mexico, we have found a higher demand for soft skills such as leadership and international exposure,” he says.
Once the right talent is found, assessed and placed, the challenge is keeping it. But mining companies often focus on retention plans for executive positions and overlook the retention of other key roles within the organization. “Many technical positions are as important or even more crucial than executive ones, but few companies consider strategies for retaining those people,” he says. “Specialized talent is like gold dust and it should be taken care of and compensated to avoid losing it.” Korn Ferry identifies who those people are within an organization and how to keep them in-house.
The company’s forecast for the global mining industry is that it will keep growing and demanding talent. “Mining’s challenge will remain to attract the right talent to mines, which is no easy task, especially in countries with security issues,” he warns. As for Mexico, he says that while miners are wary about the political transition, the industry wants to keep a positive outlook. “While possible changes to the mining law are still uncertain, we do know that the industry is going to be a focal point for the new administration,” he adds.