Integrated Annual Review 2012 Annual Financial Report 2012 Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Regional overview  

7.1.1 Recruitment and retention

The ‘war for talent’

Skills shortage and retention continues to represent a key challenge (p 41). This is not specific to Gold Fields, but is a global, sector-wide issue. Indeed, skills shortages comes second only to resource nationalism in Ernst & Young’s ‘Business risks facing mining and metals 2012 – 2013’, whilst it has also been identified as a key issue in Deloitte’s ‘Tracking the trends 2012: The top 10 trends mining companies may face in the coming year’. If we are to achieve our long- term business objectives (p 17), we need a well-trained, motivated and stable workforce – including technical experts, managers and operational personnel.

Figure 7.2: Total employees
  Figure 7.3: Total employees by region
(% – pre-unbundling)
  Figure 7.4: Total staff turnover rate by
employee type (pre-unbundling)


Employee training at KDC, South Africa
Employee training at KDC, South Africa

Turnover challenges in Australia and Ghana

During 2012, we continued to experience high levels of turnover at our Australian operations due to the nature of the highly dynamic ‘fly-in, fly-out’ extractive labour market in Western Australia, as well as intense competition from other major mining and energy projects and operations in the region.

The turnover rate remains high at 27.5% (2011: 28%). We expect the scarcity of some core and critical skills to continue.

To address this issue, we are:

  • Implementing a new, centralised recruitment and retention strategy
  • Ensuring remuneration remains fully competitive with peers in Western Australia
  • Identifying core and critical skills so that we apply well-targeted management measures
  • Making adjustments to our benefits packages to ensure they remain competitive in light of a benchmarking exercise carried out against our competitors in the labour market
  • Implementing a formal Talent Management programme linked to employee development
  • Carrying out workplace ‘climate surveys’ to inform related human resource action plans

In Ghana, local regulations mean expatriates can fill a maximum of 6% of management, supervisory and technical positions at mining companies – resulting in intense competition for the relatively limited number of local specialists and managers. Furthermore, in many cases these individuals pursue opportunities to take up highly paid expatriate roles outside of Ghana.

Although turnover in Ghana is not particularly high at 7.06% (2011: 7.4%) – its disproportionate prevalence amongst national managers and specialists (including mine planners, geologists and heavy mining equipment artisans) means it has a greater impact than would otherwise be the case.

To address this issue, we are:

  • Ensuring remuneration of senior nationals remains fully competitive with peers within the West Africa Region
  • Delivering structured and predictable career progression within the Group
  • Carrying out workplace ‘climate surveys’ to inform related human resource action plans
  • Providing opportunities for senior nationals to pursue opportunities as expatriates within the Group – with a view to returning to Ghana
  • Implementing intensive succession planning, whereby for each of our non-national, expatriate employees we also develop a national successor, using Individual Development Plans

Employment impact of unbundling

Following the unbundling of the former Gold Fields South Africa (GFIMSA) operations into Sibanye Gold, Gold Fields activities in the country will focus on the South Deep mine. At South Deep the conclusion of a new operating model (p 79 – 81) has resulted in a decision to recruit approximately 1,500 mostly skilled mineworkers to support the ‘24/7’ shift operations. The recruitment process is set to continue until mid-2013. Once in full production South Deep is set to employ around 5,000 full-time employees – compared to around 3,500 currently.