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5 Reasons to Embrace Older Workers in the Mining Industry

Older Workers in Mining


Including Older Workers in Your Recruiting Strategy

The mining industry needs more experienced employees in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s. Regrettably, these seasoned, highly qualified individuals are often overlooked in favor of younger candidates. This limited, biased approach not only affects older workers seeking jobs but also deprives employers of numerous advantages that seasoned professionals can contribute to company growth and long-term success.

As heavy industry companies extend their recruiting horizons to meet continuously increasing demands, just 5 years of experience can place a candidate on their “top-tier” hiring radar. As valuable as those first 5 years are for younger candidates, not a few older professionals can claim nearly 5 decades of hard-won industry experience that they can bring to the hiring table.

Here are five compelling reasons why mining and other heavy industry companies should consider older workers as candidates that can help their companies thrive in turbulent economies while avoiding The High Cost of Vacancies in Critical Positions in their organizations. 

Benefit #1: Older Workers Bring Unparalleled Experience

Mining professionals in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s possess a deep understanding of their jobs and responsibilities. These veteran prospects have spent decades building careers and overcoming the inherent challenges of the industry.

They are well-versed in industry technology and tools, requiring minimal training in the sector’s fundamentals. Instead, their training is typically tailored to company-specific policies and procedures right on the job, allowing them to quickly adapt to new challenges and technology.

experienced workers in mining and construction

Benefit #2: Older Workers Exhibit Exceptional Loyalty

According to a 2013 study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, research found that 9 in 10 workers older than age 50 are somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. As a result, they’re more loyal and tend to stay on the job longer. That’s important for the other side of the HR formula which is Recruiting + Retention = Success for the long term.

In fact, a report published by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) states:

“Tenure for workers with their current employer was highest for the oldest workers at 10.2 years. For those between ages 55 and 64, this number was 9.9 years and 7.6 years for those between 45 and 54 years old.”

Yet, we still see many mining and heavy industry companies seeking to fill the ranks with new hires in their 20s and early 30s in an effort to increase their “bench strength”. That is, they’re hiring at a younger age (generally 22-35) with the noble intention of retaining employees for 20+ years.

While this is a good strategy in theory, it simply doesn’t work for the “job shopping” younger generation of the 2020s, who are far more likely to express discontent with their current jobs, according to a 2023 Pew Research report. 

Benefit #3: Older Workers Excel in Supervisory Roles

Older employees are well-suited to take on supervisory positions and provide valuable guidance to their teams. They command the respect of their subordinates, drawing from their extensive experience in industry and management.

These seasoned professionals often possess superior communication and people skills honed in an era before email, instant messaging, and social media dominance. Their advanced communication skills and personal touch, for example sending handwritten thank-you notes to clients and referrals, can foster stronger business relationships within the company and with VIP clients.

When younger employees assume supervisory roles, they may struggle to gain the respect of more experienced hourly workers, leading to inefficiencies and increased upper managerial involvement. Older professionals bring an inherent authority to the workforce that can alleviate this sort of disruption, and the young supervisor can gain a valuable mentor who has “been there and dealt with that” in many workforce scenarios over the decades.

Benefit #4: Older Workers Make Exceptional Mentors

Every new employee needs guidance, especially in heavy industries that rely on hands-on experience. Having a skilled mentor is invaluable during the learning process, especially in supervisory and management roles. Older professionals are ideally suited for mentoring roles. They exhibit patience, understanding, and a lack of the need to prove themselves at the expense of their proteges.


Advantages of hiring older workers in mining.

Benefit #5: Older Workers are Highly Dedicated

Older employees are accustomed to long shifts, manual labor, and demanding workdays. They arrive ready to complete their forty-plus hours a week without complaints, and overtime for them is often BAU, or Business As Usual. Their years of experience have instilled a strong work ethic, a trait recognized by approximately six in ten respondents in a 2010 Pew Research Center survey. When asked about work ethic, about three-fourths of respondents believed older people displayed a stronger work ethic.

These dedicated workers don’t take excessive breaks, spend hours glued to their phones, or show up late for their shifts. Moreover, older employees generally have more stable personal lives, reducing the likelihood of missing shifts due to family issues.

According to a 2023 Pew Research study:

“Older workers offer the most positive assessments of their job. Two-thirds of workers ages 65 and older say they are extremely or very satisfied with their job overall, compared with 55% of those 50 to 64, 51% of those 30 to 49, and 44% of those 18 to 29. Older workers are the most likely to say they are extremely or very satisfied with their relationship with their manager or supervisor, their day-to-day tasks, and their opportunities for promotion at work. They also are more likely to say they find their job to be enjoyable and fulfilling all or most of the time.” How Americans View Their Jobs [2023]

Hiring Older Workers for Sustainable Growth and Success

Hiring older workers offers numerous advantages to mining companies, as well as heavy industry sectors across the board. Their wealth of experience, loyalty, mentorship, and strong work ethic can significantly benefit your organization. If you’re seeking skilled leaders who excel in their professions and can serve as mentors for your company’s future leaders, don’t hesitate to contact CEO Dan at Resource Erectors so we can all get to work.

Picture of Dan Duszynski

Dan Duszynski

CEO and President of Resource Erectors, Inc.. A search and recruitment firm serving the mining and mineral processing, and civil construction industries of North America.


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