29 March Women in mining March 29, 2021 By Sally Parker General, Industry, Mining Mining, InternationalWomensDay 0 International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 across the world. To coincide with this, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) surveyed over 500 people who work in resources to better understand how women experience work in the mining industry, and the results were surprising. According to the survey, approximately 75% of women working in the resources sector earn more than the average female Australian salary (Workforce Gender Equality Agency 2021). They also have a high qualification rate, with 92% of respondents holding at least one university degree. The survey also found that more than half (55%) of respondents view their workplace as “very diverse” or “average” compared to 35% in the resources sector. Women in mining were also 3.3 times more likely to indicate that their workplace had a “very inclusive” culture compared to those in the resources sector. It should however be noted that the level of perceived inclusiveness was still less than 30%, indicating that there is still considerable work to be done. According to the survey, there has been improvement in several areas over the past year including: ● There has been an increase in retention with a 5% increase from last year in the number of women who have worked in the sector for between five and 10 years. ● There has been relative stability in the level of female mining unemployment despite the impact of COVID-19 on the broader economy and unemployment rates. ● Similarly, the level of FIFO and DIDO roles also remained relatively stable despite the travel restrictions in place for much of last year. This is particularly important as on-site experience is considered to be of importance particularly for those in technical professions. One of the key areas identified as an opportunity for professional development was leadership, with 55% of respondents highlighting it as a priority. The ability to adapt to a changing industry, innovation and the development of transferable skill sets were all highlighted as areas of interest for leadership focus, while demand for mentoring and coaching was also high. Other priorities included the need to create equal employment opportunities, supporting career progression and focusing on recruitment and retention. For the first time, the report asked for views on issues of equity. Only 47% of respondents indicated that work is valued for its quality rather than gender, while just 40% believe remuneration is equitable across the genders. These figures were less favourable for women in FIFO and DIDO roles, indicating significant work is still to be done to address issues of equity. Other opportunities for improvement included workplace flexibility, wellbeing and work life balance, particularly for those who work on-site or in technical roles. Qualitative responses indicated that onsite rosters and work schedules were largely incompatible with commitments outside the workplace. Improving operational flexibility will not only support female workers but also boost retention and career progression. Some other specific areas for improvement for health and wellbeing that were highlighted include offering recreational options beyond the gymnasium and mess hall such as social activity spaces and increased internet connectivity. While focusing on health care services onsite to support women’s health, wellbeing and mental health was also emphasised. The report will inform both industry and government, so that they can better identify and improve the needs of women in the mining industry and will be used to determine how to better attract, retain and encourage more women to join the industry. It also helps determine how to better foster a culture of inclusiveness and foster innovation in the industry to better leverage the female talent pool in the industry. Related Articles Digital transformation in mining and energy As the global shift to remote work gathers pace, it is more important than ever that the mining and energy sector embraces technology. But a digital transformation offers more than flexible working arrangements. It has the potential to drastically cut down on industrial accidents, optimise operational processes and slash costs. How COVID-19 could change mining for the better The mining industry was deemed an essential service by the Government, which has enabled it to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this hasn’t been without its challenges. New processes and procedures were required to address safety and social distancing and issues of supply and worker mobility have impacted how the industry operates. But with adversity comes opportunity and the mining industry has thrived and realised the potential for new improvements amidst the pandemic. New innovations in mining What is concerning mining and metals industry executives today? Recent surveys conducted in the mining and metals industry sector indicate that climate change, price volatility and the risk of a global depression are the top concerns for executives. The KMPG Mining Risk Forecast 2020/21 Report nominates climate change and price risks as top-of-mind for executives while a mid-year survey by White & Case found that the fear of a global recession was the most common concern amongst those surveyed. It’s worth noting that the KMPG survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic. 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