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Meeting The “Great Crew Change” Challenge In The Mining Industry

The increasing pace of retirement in the baby boomers and earlier Generation-X workforce means that up to 50-66% of the existing employees are expected to leave the workplace by 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the retirement percentage of the baby boomers generation has doubled since 2010

This is being referred to as the “great crew change” whose impact will be most felt in labor-centric industries like the metal mining industry. According to the latest findings, 27% of the existing workforce in the mining industry is aged 55 years or more. 

How can mining companies prepare for this massive “crew change” – and how can a Frontline Workforce Productivity platform help in easing their pain points? Let us discuss.


6 Ways of managing crew change

Here is a look at how a Frontline Workforce platform can manage the “great crew change” in the following 6 ways:

Addressing the skills gap.

A changing workforce means that mining companies must address the impact of the potential skills gap that they could be facing shortly. To cover the estimated loss of over 60% of the existing workforce (due to retirement), mining companies must develop transition plans and increase their ‘new’ employee training efforts.

Retaining the tribal knowledge

Mining industries can also look to capture and share tribal knowledge from experienced operators to the younger workforce. This can include how to conduct routine tasks or maintenance operations. The use of Augmented Reality (AR) technology along with a connected worker platform can be used to transfer tribal knowledge from a ‘senior’ executive to many ‘junior’ technicians in mining facilities.

Achieving more with less.

According to a McKinsey research study, mining productivity is 28% lesser than a decade back. To improve their productivity and output, mining companies must follow the principle of “achieving more with less.” Through production efficiency, companies must look to optimize their costs and extract more output from their existing resources.

Through the frontline workforce platform, mining companies must look to leverage the knowledge and experience of their current workforce before they retire.

Investing into competency

When it comes to professional development in the mining sector, companies must build an effective competency model for their workforce to cope with new technologies and perform their allocated tasks. Essentially, this model (with a list of competency and safety skills) can be developed over time using a connected workforce platform and be adapted according to every worker’s professional abilities.

Leveraging modern microlearning practices

For modern-day requirements, mining companies must allocate more time to workforce training and learning. Self-assist training methods like microlearning are the best fit for the new generation of mineworkers looking to elevate their technical know-how.

Through a connected workforce platform, mining employees can use the convenience of a microlearning training program – any time or place and on their mobile phones.

Documenting the best practices

Effective document management is the only way to counter the “brain drain” due to retirements in the mining industry. The best mining practices are complex and require to be retained and documented for future references in various formats (for example, guided workflows). 

A connected workforce platform can act as a centralized repository for crucial project-related documents to be accessed whenever needed.



The great crew change is an eventuality in many labor-intensive industries including the mining sector. Mining companies must prepare for this transition with organized planning from the current day.

As a technology partner, Atheer has worked with mining companies in preparing its next generation of experts through its AR-powered frontline workforce productivity platform. This platform overcomes various pain points through solutions including AR-based video assistance, chat and group messaging, work instructions, and workforce training.

To know more about how to manage the great crew change, do get in touch with us.

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