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“All I hear is the bleating’s of Calvary Officers before World War I”- Jeffery Malone -I’d like to say that I the story I am about to tell is one from a science fiction novel or from a future so distant that it won’t matter to my grandkids, let alone myself or my immediate family. Alas, this is not a fairy tale and like stories about princesses or knights, the actual reality is much bleaker than the tale told around the fire, that is in terms of long-term employment.Some years ago, while working for a large European player prior to the Global Financial Crisis I was advising on the workforce planning strategy for the team which was taking part in the Rio Tinto and BHP Biliton Automated Train Management System (ATMS). At that stage the vision was to replace humans with an automated system which could be controlled remotely from a Perth based control centre.For background into the original ATMS project check out a legacy Australian Broadcast Commission story which highlights the original intent of the project: http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2007/s2141558.htmI’ve recently returned from an assignment based out of Canberra, Australia where I missed a lot of regional workforce planning stories but upon my return from the Capitol I did pick up this wonderful coverage of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton’s more recent activity in the area of mining automation: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3436268.htmThe fact that Rio Tinto has mined 57m tonnes from the West Angeles since 2008 show that the Automated Mine Trial is not only the way of the future but that the McKinsey ideal of a ‘War on Talent’ is not only dead but dangerous for future management of job automation impacts.The Mining industry employs around 250,000 people in Australia, roughly 2.1% of the participation rate. This is actually a very low rate compared to other industry sections, namely retail which employs around 2 million Australian’s and is now in a very long term and extended decline given its current model. One of the great impacts of the current mining boom in Australia will the expected and localised opportunities for local regions. The Queensland region is likely to gain 60,000 infrastructure employments over the medium term, then 30,000 longer term mining jobs over the longer term.Ok, I’m reading off a lot of statistics in the previous paragraph but guess what.This is all based on the prospect of the Chinese economy working on a pre (not post) GFC economy and only this month China’s economy slowed to an enforced 8.1% growth rate and we are living in the GFC Mk II time, not back in the heyday of 2007…I’ve gotten off-track again haven’t?All I hear at the moment from all area’s is that the mining sector will save every part of the economy. It won’t, it’s a business and like all good businesses it will look after itself first and foremost. Some sectors of the economy will do great, most will struggle on and many others will die the death of many cuts.Their will be an ‘Oncoming Storm’ and it will impact all of us all. Job Automation in the mining sector will be the final nail in the coffin of those who believe that mining is the next magical solution to all of our Australian employment woes though.What then about the rest of the world?As my friend and colleague would say ‘all he hears is the bleating of cavalry officers before WWI’…Resource-Planner, neo-Taylorist & occasional writer. The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable. Amongst other things Shane has recently completed an assignment as the Workforce Planning Specialist for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Australia) and manages the Regional Workforce Planning LinkedIn forum promoting better Workforce Planning outcomes for all global regional centres. Shane can be lauded or abused on Twitter @gmggranger
Original source article: HR.COM