As the most male-dominated sector in Australia, the resources market is addressing inclusiveness. Despite gains, there’s quiet ‘heavy lifting’ to be done


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The resources market is the most male-dominated sector in Australia, a reality the industry has actually taken actions to resolve in the previous 10 years. Photograph: Morsa Images/Getty Images
The resources market is the many male-dominated ar in Australia, a fact the industry has taken actions to attend to in the previous 10 years. Photograph: Morsa Images/Getty Images

It is lucky that Kelly Down’s father worked as a maker operator at Bell just Aluminium, due to the fact that it supposed that her transition from fashion student to fitter and also turner at the smelter was less of a shock than it might have been.

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“You work-related with your hands,” states Down, currently 44, the the similarity between the two careers. “That’s around it.”

Since Down began as one apprentice 27 years ago, she has seen much change. Ago then, she was one of only two female fitter and turner apprentices in Tasmania and also one that her worries was that her male colleagues were overly chivalrous. “They just wanted come do everything for you,” she says.

However, there was additionally some resentment about a woman entering their space. One of the male apprentices was no backward in telling her that females did no belong. “He assumed women should be barefoot and also pregnant and chained come the kitchen,” she says. “It to be what his father had taught him.”


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Down, currently a safety and training officer in ~ Bell only Aluminium, made it her business to win him in ~ every task and assessment till he was forced to revise his view. He at some point learned come treat her prefer a colleague, fairly than together a “girl”.

The resources market is the many male-dominated ar in Australia, a reality the industry has taken measures to deal with in the past 10 years. But while part employers have taken enormous strides in hiring and promoting women, the woman proportion of the industry workforce still sits at about 16%.

Several industry teams aim come raise woman participation to 25% by 2020. Earlier this month under was commemorated at the 2016 women in Resources nationwide Awards, an initiative through the mineral Council that Australia and the miscellaneous Women in Mining state branches, as soon as she won the Glencore outstanding Australian tradeswoman, operator or technician award.

The director of the Workplace sex Equality Agency, Libby Lyons, claims it would certainly be unrealistic to intend parity in the numbers of women and also men throughout the industry since of the difficulties of transition work and also fly in-fly out arrangements.

And, provided that it has taken three years to change that joining by 2.6 percent points to 16%, there is tho a great deal the “heavy lifting” come be done to move to the sector goal of 25%.


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Kelly under picked increase the Glencore exceptional Australian tradeswoman, operator or technician award at the 2016 females in Resources nationwide Awards. Photograph: rob Burnett“A many the roles, at the an ext junior level in particular, aren’t attractive to a most women. A most women don’t want to work on the tools and don’t want to work-related underground,” states Lyons, that has operated in corporate affairs for BHP Billiton, CITIC Pacific Mining Management and also Alcoa.

However, employers in mining have shown a willingness to it is in progressive, with nearly 61% of them having a strategy on gender equality and 34.3% act a salary gap evaluation (compared through 19.1% across all sectors). Lyons claims the industry additionally has much better paid parental leave schemes – 11.9 main of main carers’ leaving on average.

Still just 2.6% of CEOs in the sector are women, who also only make up 12.3% of crucial management personnel. “So, they room doing an extremely poorly in the management space,” she says.

The bulk of women in the industry (77.4%) are in administrative and also clerical positions, but at the very least one firm (Newmont Mining in ~ the WA Boddington goldmine) is actively recruiting female truck drivers, introducing a 9am come 2pm change to fit in with household responsibilities. “They are less complicated on the hardware ,” states Lyons.


Earlier this year BHP Billiton announced that females now organized the majority of positions on its executive team in ~ the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine job in southern Australia. This team has actually six women and five guys reporting into the asset president, Jacqui McGill.

Similarly end at BHP Billiton’s Daunia coalmine in Queensland, quotas have ensured around a 4 minutes 1 of its labor force is female. Across the entire company, the ratio of female executives sits at 17%, up from 8% end the past 5 years.

Rio Tinto is additionally working in ~ it: 43% that its graduate input is female and the relationship of females in an elderly management is 18% (working in the direction of a target of 20%).

At St Barbara Ltd, which operates goldmines in west Australia and also Papua brand-new Guinea, the gender pay void has been diminished from 43% in 2007 come 11.4% in June 2014 (compared with 17.6% because that the industry).

Eliminating a pay gap requires employers to hire much more women into senior and higher-paid positions, and making sure that women room not gift paid less for act the very same jobs.

At Aurizon (a transport and also logistics firm servicing the resources industry), there is a target to obtain to 30% of ladies by 2019. This would call for doubling that existing number of women and the agency has presented some groundbreaking employee services in bespeak to gain there.

Those benefits include “shared care” arrangements, through which a companion (usually the father) have the right to take 13 weeks of totally paid leave (or 26 main at fifty percent pay) in the an initial year of an infant’s life to enable the various other partner to return to full time work.What is more, if a mrs (or prime carer) employee returns to work permanent in the first year and is supported by a partner who is on leave without salary from one more employer, she will get 150% of she pay for as much as 26 weeks come cover the fact that she partnerisn’t being paid for that time.

These initiatives helped Aurizon to pick up the excellence in agency programs and performance award at the 2016 women in Resources nationwide Awards. .

Former Aurizon chief executive, management Lance Hockridge was recognized as the driving pressure behind the this firm diversity agenda but it seems incoming CEO – and also former Rio Tinto steel Ore CEO – Andrew Harding looks set to continue the work.

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While a spokesman for the agency said it to be too at an early stage to speculate top top the place of diversity in Harding’s priorities in his brand-new role, that is on record supporting inclusiveness.

“Responsibility for workplace flexibility, diversity and also inclusiveness that an organisation is not the duty of the human resources manager,” Harding has actually said. “It’s the responsibility of the leader. Readjust starts at the top.”