Mintek attributes its position as one of the world’s leaders in mineral and metallurgical technology to its workforce of highly skilled engineers, scientists and technologists, who have been developing groundbreaking technologies, products and services for the local and international mining and minerals industries since 1934.
For the past few years, the global shortage of hard-core technical skills, such as engineers, scientists and technical personnel has also become increasingly evident in the South African labour market. Here the shortage is more significant and pronounced, with organisations like Mintek and private companies in the mining, minerals and related industries competing for the same pool of human capital and expertise in order to survive.
During the past financial year, Mintek continued to lose critical skills, mainly through competition from local and international companies. To offset these losses the organisation embarked on a successful recruitment drive, simultaneously developing and formulating a retention strategy to arrest employee turnover. As one of the most important measures to retain strategic human capital, the organisation has made every effort to close the salary gap with the open market, however this is still a challenge for Mintek. Strong focus has also been placed on succession planning.
Transformation and employment equity
Despite the great shortage of engineers, scientists and technologists from the historically disadvantaged groups at managerial and professional level, Mintek’s workforce transformation has improved steadily with the percentage of historically disadvantaged individuals in all categories exceeding the 50 per cent mark. The organisation has reached its Board-approved target of 77 per cent designated group (DG) representation.
Transformation in the group’s technical business units has also improved, and multilateral initiatives are being employed to induce scarce scientists, engineers and highly specialised technical staff from the historically disadvantaged group to join the organisation.
The table above, extracted from Mintek’s Employment Equity Report, which was accepted by the Department of Labour during the past financial year, reflects a great improvement in company transformation in respect of previously disadvantaged persons at management and professional levels.
Black Economic Empowerment
A joint survey by Mintek and an independent accredited consulting organisation to verify the DG-status of the companies in Mintek’s preferred supplier base found that the vast majority of suppliers, including recruitment agencies and labour brokers, were BEE compliant. Mintek has set itself clear targets, as contained in the Compact with the Minister of Minerals and Energy, for suppliers’ BEE compliance and will seek alternative suppliers if these targets are not met.
Participative approach: MINTEK and NUM
Mintek’s working relationship with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) remains positive and NUM continually interacts and consults with Mintek on issues that affect its members in the workplace. With both parties aspiring to create a more participative environment, Mintek will be providing intensive in-house labour relations training workshops, which will include NUM shop stewards.
This will enable both Mintek and organised labour to effectively engage on the same level in terms of knowledge and skills in employee relations.
The Employment Equity and Diversity Forum which represents all categories of employees, endeavours to create an environment which embraces diversity and employment equity. By nurturing diversity and eliminating equity barriers, while conforming to legislation and best practice, the Forum strives to ensure that Mintek’s environment is conducive to meeting strategic and operational goals. The Forum will consult with management as well as staff with regard to, amongst others matters, the new Employment Equity Plan 2009.
In the past year, the Forum has actively increased the awareness of appreciating differences across the organisation. This was initiated and implemented through a series of activities, beginning with the official launch of the Forum in August 2006. This was followed by a short project called “In someone else’s shoes”, which was aimed at increasing understanding of how people with disabilities have to function within a work environment.
The Forum, in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Committee, also supported the orphans at the Itireleng Home in Soweto.