Talents are the fundamental drivers of economic development. As stakeholders keep their eyes on maximising economic shifts, it is critical to ensure that business leaders are abreast of how talent is developed and deployed to leverage these opportunities.


Nigeria is keen on promoting economic diversification and accelerating economic recovery as the impact of Covid-19 begins to wane. This is reflected in its 2021 budget and the developments in the exploration sector. As stated by the Nigerian Federal Government, there is a strong desire and commitment to building a world-class mineral and mining ecosystem that would contribute an ambitious 10% of the Nations GDP by 2026. The second phase of the Government’s roadmap will see an expansion in the domestic ore and mineral processing industries through beneficiation.


On the other hand, in the Oil & Gas sector, the Government is throwing their weight behind the CNG development as an alternative automobile fuel. They hope to convert 1 million gasoline vehicles to CNG by this year – 2021.


Like the opportunities above, periodic licensing of marginal oil fields has led to the opportunity for investors, local and foreign – startups, Mergers, and Acquisitions (M&A). As we find in the exploration sector, there is an average of 137,000 startups daily across industries. In the US alone, in 2020, they recorded 12,123 M&As, down from 14,247 in the previous year. These Startups and M&A require talent to drive and bring alive the opportunities that business leaders envisage. Without hiring the right people in technical and cultural competence, the businesses can suffer setbacks.


Some of the challenges that impact recruiting talent for new business arrangements in the exploration sector are crucial for discussion. As businesses are launched, they are introduced into a world of the “survival of the fittest”. For these new businesses, if they believe that employees are their critical success factor and their competitive advantage, they must identify the key criteria to look for in sourcing and engaging employees.


While there may be a three to five-year plan for most startups, it is rare to find companies who already have HR policies to guide the business hiring process. To avoid recruiting in panic and keep the hiring process on the right track, businesses taking advantage of new opportunities in the exploration sector would require a pre-defined hiring strategy and symmetric plan.


Vision and motivation are very crucial success factors at the kickoff stage of every new business arrangement. However, it is challenging to communicate and drive a burning desire to actualise the vision of an organisation within teams. Having to begin with team members who have the technical competence but lack the vision and motivation can be a set back for the business.


Hence, in planning the hiring criteria, it is important to identify individuals who have the potential of believing in the vision and stay loyal through the early stages, even when you cannot offer some industry-standard perks and benefits at the initial stage.


One of the requirements for obtaining a license for mining in Nigeria is that the application must state the applicant’s financial and technical capability for entry into the sector. This means that from the beginning, exploration experts are required. However, the mining industry’s talent shortages persist globally. There has been a drain in the talent pool due to the exponential growth in global mining production in the last 20 years.


Because of the competition that follows this scarcity, business leaders engage strategic partners to source, assess, and select the right talent for their new business venture.


Another critical challenge to note is the rise of labour cost. The scarcity of skilled labour has contributed to this. Unfortunately, it may not be changing any time sooner than when government policies strengthen efforts to formalise talent development in the industry. The industry is still highly dominated by informal workers, and the workforce is nearing retirement.


If employees shape the future outcomes of new businesses in the exploration sector, then how these employees are hired and developed is of immense importance. The private sector must begin to take ownership in leveraging strategic partners who can help to hire and develop the right talent.


With over 28 years of experience managing similar complex engagements for clients in the exploration sector, pcl. is a reliable partner to have and work with in this space. Send us an email at people@phillipsconsulting.net


Written by:

Kelvin Chiazor