Pablo Gutiérrez
Senior Consultant Latin America
Swann Global
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View from the Top

Mining Human Capital

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 10:01

Q: What is the main focus of Swann Global in Mexico?

A: We selected the mining, metal processing, and energy industries as the first sectors to focus on, and then went on to expand into construction and engineering. Swann Global is the only global company in the market with such in-depth and sector-focused human capital expertise. There are numerous major players in Mexico, however over the last 20 years Swann Global has focused on mining and natural resources, giving us an advantage over the competition. In addition, our global management team has more than 80 years of technical expertise within these sectors. The mining industry has unique working conditions, and search firms like ours must have the right experience and knowledge if we are to attract the world’s best talent. These firms must visit the mines and understand the specific working environment, and also know that the candidates should be physically fit and ready for challenges, as well as having communication, management, planning, and follow up skills. Our strategy is to position regional offices in local mining and resource markets, and this has allowed us to understand our customers. We collaborate closely with our clients to define the candidate profile they are looking for. Swann Global guarantees its clients a replacement period of three months, committing itself to finding the appropriate candidate for the job within 12 weeks. Our search methodology consists of partnering with clients from day one to define and establish the needs for the role. Afterwards, we internally review the search and begin performing the appropriate qualifying and psychometric testing. With proposals in hand, we advise our clients on the best way to move forward.

Q: What makes Mexico a good market for Swann Global?

A: Mexico has a great mining history, and we are proud to be a part of it. As in any other country, companies face the challenge of finding and keeping the right people, and Swann Global’s international experience has helped companies to do so. Developing in any new market takes time as we must get to know the market dynamics. Our success in Mexico has come in a short period of time, and it has led us to opportunities in Peru and Chile. Our organization has been servicing the North American market for over 10 years out of our Toronto office. The North American mining influence in Mexico is what brought us to start developing projects and people in Mexico. Swann Global has the opportunity to develop profile research in Mexico, where turnover is high, making it difficult to maintain a corporate memory. We not only find and provide technically skilled people, but also people capable of stimulating the company; people who have clear goals and are capable of making important decisions.

Q: What are the main human resource needs of Mexican mining companies?

A: At the plant manager level there is a need for staff that can understand not just the processing of minerals but the whole process, and at the management level they require staff that have a real understanding of what being in the mine really entails. Swann Global conducts field studies and risk management assessments, and after doing so we make sure that our candidates know the measures that should be taken in the case of an emergency. Supervision is the skill that Mexican companies really need to improve, as better supervision will allow them to spot opportunities and better identify and implement risk prevention measures. We help companies to find the best candidate for the role, and once they join it is the company’s responsibility to train and follow up with their own development programs.

Q: What is Swann Global’s perspective on mining companies’ training programs?

A: Swann Global suggests that training its people should be every company’s priority. Sometimes companies propose that these sorts of training programs should take place outside of working hours, and that is a problem. Working conditions in mines are really tough; it is hot and tiring. Mining companies need to understand their workers better and take a more human approach to management, allowing their workers to do this sort of training during work hours.

Q: What are Swann Global’s growth ambitions in the coming years, both in Mexico and internationally?

A: We believe the Mexican talent pool and market to be strong. We work hard to attract local talent, however we also have a wide-reaching network of connections and we can source candidates from all over the world, making sure that we bring a real breadth of skills. We are focusing on Latin America as an area for growth, and Swann Global also intends to expand its client portfolio in Mexico by leveraging its international experience and local contacts.